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STEM Students at Sea

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While Elon Musk’s Tesla is working on the technology for its electric cars, our Year 9 STEM students have spent the past two terms developing the technology for their very own remotely operated vehicles (ROV’s).

The energy exploration industry is heavily reliant on ROV technology, enabling companies to drill down into the deepest depths of the ocean in search of new opportunities. Capable of advanced robotics and fitted with sophisticated instruments designed to collect data on anything from the saline content of ocean waters to the health and behaviour patterns of marine ecosystems, ROV technology is advancing all the time.

It is hardly surprising then that this fascinating technology has captivated our Year 9 STEM students this year. So much so, they have developed their own models. Recently they set off to Balmoral beach with Head of TAS, Ms McNally, to test whether they were ocean-worthy.

Year 9 STEM student Sophia said, “Although it was a very rainy day, this didn't dampen our spirits as we set off towards the jetty. We learnt a lot about neutral buoyancy throughout the day, and by placing our ROV’s in the water and adjusting flotation devices or weights, we were able to lower our drones effortlessly into the water.”

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“We also had to prevent torque, which is a turning force produced when the centre of buoyancy and centre of gravity are relocated. We did this by ensuring our drones were evenly balanced. We then began practicing the driving of the vehicles. This proved a bit harder. However, after a few minutes all the ROV’s were up and going. Now we were able to attach cameras to our drones, allowing us to take underwater footage. Using a livestreaming camera, we could see what our drones were seeing.

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“Overall, the day was a large success and we each learned valuable information which we will be able to apply in upcoming projects.”