FIRST team is national Underwater Bot champs

Last Thursday, four students, Fredi, Sam (another teacher) and myself headed out to UCSB for the third MATE ROV contest. This is our first year to compete in the underwater remotly operated vehcile contest. Although the specifications of the contest were publixhed last fall, we really did not start until mid April after the FIRST nationals.

MATE contest web site:

There are two catagories:
Ranger class where only 12 volt motors and no more than 24 amps of current can be used. (Most high schools enter this catagory, we did not)
Explorer class which is the unlimited catagory. There were 11 teams. Only three were high schools, including Carl Hayden High School. The rest were colleges and universities:

Ball High School Galveston TX
Brevard Community College Palm Bay FL
Cape Fear Community College Wilmington NC
Carl Hayden High School Phoenix AZ
Lake Superior State University Sault Ste. Marie MI
Long Beach Community College Long Beach CA
Miami Dade College Miami FL
MIT Cambridge MA
Monterey Peninsula College Monterey CA
Palm Beach Lakes High School West Palm Beach FL
Sound School New Haven CT

The missions required the students to measure lengths, measure water depths, retreive liquids from a container, find an audio pinger, retrieve objects, using on board tools and camers and retrieve our ROV dockside within the 30 minute period.

There were also points awarded on a 20 page technical document, 30 minute oral technical presentation, and a poster display.

Anyway, Carl Hayden won the Judges’ Award, the ROV design award, the Technical Paper award AND THE FIRST PLACE award. We heard, “A rookie high school beat MIT?!”. We were very excited and proud to win the highest and the most awards at the national ROV competition.

How is it possible that a rookie team in the ROV competition can suceffully compete at the university level? Easy, we learned our skills in FIRST. That a school in the desert with FIRST experience can sucessfully compete with the top marine engineering schools in the country is quite a testimonial to the FIRST experience.

We passed out some FIRST brocures to high school teams who were interested. We encouraged the colleges and universities to find a high school to mentor. We also shared everyting we had: tools and supplies, of course, but also all our design secrets. We even published our technical documents weeks before the contest. We were trying to show that publishing designs increased the quality of every team and was especially helpful to new teams. We will see if it catches on next year. Gracious Professionalism!

Feel free to scream, “WE BEAT MIT!!!”. FIRST did!


Our ROV web site is

1 Like

Wow… this is awesome. Great job to the Carl Hayden HS team!

Andy B.

good job! That sounds really kool.

totally cool!!! very neat–great job u guys

that is absolutely amazing, great job.

how much did all the parts for that ROV cost (not including all of the Innovation FIRST controller parts I am assuming you used from previous FIRST bots)?

Kudos to you and your team! You’ve got much to be proud of and a heritage in FIRST that has obviously taught you a great deal about teamwork, problem-solving, technology, engineering and…oh yeah…robotics! And you did it all, I’m sure, in less time than all the others!



Cue up the call for a water based game next year… :stuck_out_tongue:

Many congrats to you! That is antoher amazing story how FIRST teams are awesome!

I’m curious abou that laser distance measuring device. You advocate publishing your ideas, but according to your website that’s a “secret”. Anyway, what is it used for, and how do you send its data to the operators?

<<I’m curious abou that laser distance measuring device. You advocate publishing your ideas, but according to your website that’s a “secret”. Anyway, what is it used for, and how do you send its data to the operators?>>

There is no secret. It’s a digital laser measure withe a digital readout. We have a camera facing the readout. The problem is that the read out is 30% off due tothe density of the water. We had a printed table to compute the correct distance.

sorry about the description of how the laser works, the diagrams at the bottom of the page shows how we used it to measure depth. There are no secrets!

most awesome, way to go!

I think that this is another example of looking at a different approach and finding success.

Everyone has heard Dave Lavery’s story about the mars robot project and how 1 kid changed it all by looking at the problem from a different perspective.

I believe that you have done the same thing…I have seen some of the robots from various universities and it seems like while they had a sound method they were much more complex (not to say your project was easy) and I believe it follows the trend that looking at a project from a different point of view can be beneficial.

I congratulate you and commend you all on pushing the envelope of what people think high school students can accomplish.

On a side note it is this type of thinking that makes FIRST so unique, the ability for many different teams to come up with many different approaches to a problem and have some very creative solutions succeed.

The competition sounds Really cool… congrats to Carl Hayden HS team… the feeling of being a rookie and being the best at a competition is totally awesome… and i am sure that you guys will get the “gracious professionalism” in this competition too… good luck…

Wow … good job guys … the competition sounds awesome and I am sure you guys had fun with it …

FIRST beat MIT !!!

Wow, I see my community college participated in it (Brevard Community College) I had no clue. I’ll have to talk to them and try to join up with this. Very very cool. Good job!