Mintlaw win ROV Challenge

The winning ROV team from Mintlaw Academy.
The winning ROV team from Mintlaw Academy.

Mintlaw Academy has come out on top in an annual competition which sees pupils from across Scotland put underwater robots they have designed and built to the test.

The Scottish leg of the challenge, co-ordinated and hosted by Robert Gordon University (RGU), saw 11 schools put underwater robots they have designed and built to the test on Thursday, March 31 at RGU’s Sir Ian Wood Building.

The Mintlaw team emerged victorious, after a panel of industry experts scored the teams on how well they completed the missions, as well as taking into consideration the technical reports, poster displays, and engineering presentations the pupils were required to produce.

It is the third time the school has won the competition.

Robert Gordon’s College placed second, with Banff Academy in third, while Keith Grammar School took the technical prize.

Portlethen Academy was awarded the Encouragement for Future Development award and Craigmount High School, from Edinburgh, picked up the teamwork award.

The RGU event is one of 24 regional heats held around the world by the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Centre in California and will see the winning school team travel to compete in this year’s international final which will be held at the NASA Johnson Space Centre’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas in June.

Joanne McDonald, team leader of the Mintlaw Academy team, said: “It’s amazing, it’s taking a bit of time to sink in. As the prizes were being announced we started to think that we hadn’t even placed so we are all so surprised.

“All our hard work has paid off. We’re going to Houston!”

She added: “The competition has been great – it has been good working as a team and getting a taste of real life engineering. There’s a few new members on the team this year and I’m really pleased with how everything has come together.”

Ali Hynd, technical teacher at Mintlaw Academy, said: “It is totally unexpected.

“The ROV actually broke as they were putting it in the pool so there was a question mark over whether it was going to happen at all but I’m over the moon for the kids – it is all their hard work.”

To-date, Scotish MATE ROV has worked with 536 pupils from 34 schools over the past nine years.