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Bios students get to grips with underwater robot technology

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Students at BIOS prepare to launch a RoboBoat (Photograph supplied)

Bermudian students were this summer given hands-on experience with high-tech marine research at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.

Bios, through a collaboration with Arizona State University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, hosted a weeklong Innovations for the Environment experiential training course last month.

With the support of sponsorship from RenaissanceRe, ten students took part in the programme highlighting the technology used to collect data from the island’s waters including aerial and underwater drones, autonomous boats and underwater vehicles and remotely operated vehicles.

Students at BIOS tackle an ROV design challenge (Photograph supplied)

The programme took place in the classroom and in the field. Students piloted state-of-the-art technology such as “RoboBoats” and underwater gliders used for marine research.

There were also robotics coding, construction, design and piloting challenges throughout the week in which students worked in small teams to test their skills in mechanical and electrical engineering.

Anne-Camille Haziza, a 14-year-old Bermuda High School student, said the ROV design challenge was a highlight that helped her improve her teamwork skills.

“I also learnt the importance of patience and positive communication,” she added. “This course gave me a new perspective on robotics.”

Sage DeSousa, who took part in the programme with her sister and fellow CedarBridge student Nadia, said her favourite part of the course was coding in Gazebo.

“Gazebo is a programme that allows you to simulate objects or machines in environments that usually would cost thousands of dollars to experiment in, but the best part about it is that it's free and really easy to use,” she said.

Aravind Saravanakumaran, a graduate research assistant in robotics and autonomous systems who helped instruct the course, said: “Seeing the students excited about the technology we were letting them operate, as well as being inquisitive about our methods, made it apparent that we actually made an impact.

“On the last day of the course, one of the students told me they were glad I came to Bios. The feeling that something you said or did potentially inspired someone else to follow in your footsteps is just an indescribable sensation.”

Students at BIOS work on RoboBoat coding. (Photograph supplied)

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Published August 03, 2022 at 7:48 am (Updated August 03, 2022 at 7:48 am)

Bios students get to grips with underwater robot technology

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