LakeView Technology Academy - Sub-Aquatics Co.

VITAL STATISTICS:

Team Name: Sub-Aquatics, Co.

Organization: LakeView Technology Academy

Competition Class: RANGER

Regional: Wisconsin

Company Spec Sheet

What were the other options for your team’s name?  If there was only ever the one option for your name, what is the origin of your team’s name?

Over the last 10 years, our team name has stayed relatively the same while our robots get the unique name treatment. For the past 6 years, and as far as we can remember, we've stuck with "Sub-Aquatics" mainly because we haven't put too much thought into changing our name.

What word/phrase is most often heard when your team is working on your ROV?

"Get it in the water!!!" - Doc Schroeter

Which job or thing your team has to do is the hardest? Why?

Our team has the hardest time staying on topic with the competition and getting enough practice time in. We suffer from "over-engineering" so bad where we often need to be reminded of the KISS principle when designing new systems. With our goal to manufacture our entire robot to gain skills and keep costs down, it's tough to remember to stay on target and practice, practice, practice.

What is your team's go-to snack food(s)?

Domino's Pizza & Diet Coke/Mtn Dew

What was the most celebrated/happiest/best/epic moment of success making your ROV?

We are always happy to display/demo/show off our ROVs to the general public and engage future engineers with what we do and what our missions are. Early this season we attended our regional Maker Faire to demo our bots and let participants get a chance to pilot them. This late winter/early spring faire is considered our soft launch for the competition ROV, indicating it should be mostly function and ready to complete most competition tasks. While this year was certainly stressful, with several pesky leaks and an overheating issue, we were able to make some miracle last minute repairs and have a relatively successful soft launch while showing off to all the participants.

What was your most memorable challenge/complete fail in building your ROV? 

Last season we had an all new team minus the CEO, and we decided to overhaul our robot so the new team could get some experience and to finally retire our old frame after four long years of service. In retrospect, that was far too much change for a new team to have to undergo all at once in one season, because we were working right up to the wire getting all systems in check and cameras being emergency soldered after all of our other connectors failed. When it came time to do our timed run, we were all holding our breath in anticipation, but when we set it in for the run, we suffered a catastrophic motor failure combined with a leak followed by the inevitable electrical short. While it was completely demoralizing at the time, we quickly picked ourselves up and knew what to take away from that moment.

What "theme" – the scientific or physical problem to be addressed with an ROV task – would you most like to see included in future competition missions?

We'd love to see the MATE International Competiton and theme return to the Great Lakes to tackle many of the real life problems we are currently facing. Here on Lake Michigan, pollutants from cities and industry are making headlines and resulting in disastrous natural consequences, as well as posing a concern for summer beachgoers. Additionally, historic high water levels on the lakes are causing heavy erosion on the coastlines. We'd love to see tasks relating to inspection and environmental control of our coasts, ensuring these incidents and changes are not going to harm our lakes' futures.

What innovation do you think would completely change how ROVs solve problems in the future?

The further implementation of artificial intelligence into ROVs will truly be revolutionary for all levels of submersibles. As AI becomes easier to work with and more accessible to teams, we think it will help us immensely by being able to take take control and help smooth out positioning and manipulating by feeding over and processing movement data. Ideally, it would make ROVs easier to control in harsh environments and provide relevant insight to the pilot.

If you could swap ROVs with any team – past or present – what team would it be?

We'd love to get to know what the 2015 Ranger Class AMNO & CO. ROV would be like. Their team truly embodies our team's spirit of building and fabricating everything ourselves, minimizing purchases and enabling us to learn all sorts of valuable skills ranging from open source computer vision programming to custom designing printed circuit boards to machining our own lineup of watertight flanges.

If your team had/has one, what is your team’s “theme song”?

After a lot of thinking, we have come up with a song for the team. Our mentor has a massive collection of classic rock, etc. that we usually listen to every saturday when we work, but every once in a while, for no good reason, the Chicken Dance Song will come on. When it does, we drop whatever we're doing to participate and dance. Perfectly silly and fun, and a great way to take a quick break and have a good laugh: