Cornerstone's 'Ghost Crab' competing in Tacoma
Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 5:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 5:50 p.m.
Cornerstone Academy's varsity robotics team is competing with students from around the world in Washington state this week at the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center's International Remotely Operated Vehicle competition.
It will be the team's fifth trip to the international competition in its 10 years in existence.
The competition is Thursday through Saturday in Tacoma, Wash., with a 45-pound remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, called the Ghost Crab.
The team is composed of six students in grades 9 to 12: Timon Angerhofer, Tirza Angerhofer, Timothy Davis, Noah Goodall, Sam Hurlston and Andrew Maule.
Cornerstone's team qualified for the international competition after winning first place at the regional ROV competition in April.
Volunteer team adviser Jeff Knack said each year, MATE gives the teams a different mission for their ROVs, which are machines piloted by humans on land that perform tasks underwater.
Ghost Crab must demonstrate to the competition judges that it can install, maintain and operate a system of sensors that monitors the ocean floor.
It took the team about 1,500 hours to build this year's ROV.
Although Cornerstone's team typically does well at competitions, Knack said it's an honor to go to the international event. Only about 28 teams qualify internationally.
"It's a big deal," he said.
This will be 18-year-old Sam Hurlston's second time at the international competition. In his five years with the team, he has personally worked on three ROVs.
The process is complicated, he said. Students must build the frame, make printed circuit boards, attach thrusters to move the machine through the water, program the machine's internal components and waterproof everything.
"It definitely can be challenging at times," he said.
From start to finish, it cost about $8,000 to build. Sponsors covered about half that amount, Hurlston said.
The team also received some materials and a lot of technical support from Fabco-Air, a local pneumatic systems components company, Knack said.
Since Hurlston is a graduating senior, he's the CEO of the team this year. Part of the judging process is how the team presents itself as a company.
Hurlston said he's excited to compete, even though he's been to the international event before.
"I'm going to miss it," he said.
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