Harvey Mudd College Robot Deployment at Ocean Institute

Press Release


Dana Point, California – On Saturday April 22 the Ocean Institute hosted 85 sophomore engineering students from Harvey Mudd College along with their designed remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). The Ocean Institute dock was turned into a robot workstation as students raced against the clock to use their ROVs to collect data including temperature, salinity, and currents.

Harvey Mudd College Professor of Engineering, Chris Clark, said Saturday was the final deployment of the robots, and was the culminating experience for students enrolled in the course.

“They have spent all semester preparing their autonomous robots to measure the ocean’s temperature, salinity, and currents. On Saturday, we saw if their robots were up to the task!” Clark said.

First the students tested their ROVs at Baby Beach before making the final adjustments for the ultimate deployment off the Ocean Institute’s dock. Teams inputted the coordinates of where they wanted their ROV to collect data into a laptop, then the ROVs were placed in the water. While many succeeded in finding their destination, some had buoyancy issues requiring less foam, or more rocks. One unfortunately found the bottom of the harbor and failed to surface, with a brand-new GoPro attached!

Professor Clark is no stranger to sea exploration, with his research projects including AUV shark tracking off Catalina Island, cistern and shipwreck mapping in Malta, lava tube exploration in the Mojave Desert, and ROV squid tracking.

Harvey Mudd College’s program is an advanced version of the Ocean Institutes ROV Distance Learning Program for middle school students, where classes build their own ROVs followed by a culminating overnight field trip to test them. This program is a great option for teachers looking to introduce more hands-on STEM and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into their classrooms. 

Ocean Institute was thrilled to host the engineering students from Harvey Mudd College and looks forward to partnering with them and similar institutions in the future.

The Ocean Institute is an ocean education center that offers in-depth Marine Science, Maritime History and Outdoor Education programs. The facility includes state-of-the-art teaching labs, the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center, two historic tallships, and an oceanographic research vessel. Immersion-based field trips range from one-hour science labs to multi-day programs at sea. All programs are designed to maximize immersion, spark curiosity, and inspire a deep commitment to learning. Ocean-based exhibits are open to the public seven days a week. Visitors can explore the underwater world while participating in fun activities designed to indulge ocean curiosity. Throughout the year, the Ocean Institute also offers organized family programs, summer camps, cruises, tallship sails, and other unique events including our annual Toshiba Tall Ships Festival and the Festival of Whales.

Address: 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr., Dana Point, CA 92629
Website: www.ocean-institute.org
Phone: (949) 496-2274

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