Mintlaw pupils heading to Houston

The winning Mintlaw ROV team.
The winning Mintlaw ROV team.

Pupils from Mintlaw Academy will be heading Stateside later this month when they compete in an international underwater robotics competition.

The team, along with another from Robert Gordon’s College, will compete in the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Centre’s 2016 ROV international final in Houston from June 23 to 25.

Mintlaw Academy took first place in the Scottish final of the competition, while the Robert Gordon’s Colege team secured second place.

The pupils will travel to the NASA Johnson Space Centre’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab to compete against more than 50 teams from around the world as part of the ocmpetition, using the ROVs they designed and built during the past school year.

This year’s contest focuses on the similarities in technologies for use in the ocean and those used in outer space.

Ali Hynd, technical teacher at Mintlaw Academy, said: “The team has been progressing well and has added new rolling and a new tether to the vehicle. They have spent a lot of time finishing off technical reports and putting in as many pool hours as possible.

“We are extremely excited about the trip to Houston especially the opportunity to see the Neutral Buoyancy Lab and meet the other international teams.”

Joanne McDonald, team leader of the Mintlaw team, said: “The team has really come together since the RGU competition, and are especially proud to have recently won the Pride of Buchan award.

“Special thanks should go to Neil Stagg from BP for his time and help mentoring us this year.”

The teams are encouraged to tackle the competition like they are running a company. As well as the pool run in NASA’s NBL, they will deliver a presentation on their ROV and produce a marketing display poster and written report.

The teams have demonstrated entrepreneurial skills in their collaboration with company sponsors and welcomed advice on improving their ROV from industry experts.