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Classified in: Science and technology, Covid-19 virus

International Underwater Robotics Competition In-person and Virtual

MONTEREY, Calif., July 29, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- After a canceled season of competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the next annual MATE ROV Competition World Championship has been reimagined to include an in-person event, a telepresence competition and a MATE Virtual Reality (VR) World thanks to a collaboration with the National Center for Autonomous Technologies. The in-person underwater robotics event is set for Aug. 5-7 at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee, but also will be livestreamed and shown on Twitch.

Some of the brightest minds from around the globe will compete with remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) they designed and built both in-person during the event in Tennessee and through telepresence, which involves submitting videos of their ROVs performing the tasks and presenting virtually.

This year's competition theme is "Excite, Educate, Empower: Students Engineering Solutions to Global Problems." Participants have been challenged to tackle real obstacles that impact the global community, including plastic pollution clogging our oceans and waterways, and climate change altering ocean temperatures and adversely affecting coral reefs. From the U.S. and Australia to India and South Africa, no where in the world is untouched.

More companies and corporations are taking environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into consideration when making business decisions, from responding to climate change and treatment of employees to whether they have a corporate culture that builds trust and encourages innovation. Students preparing for the working world should be aware of and prepared to do the same. This year's competition theme is helping them better understand ESG factors while putting them into practice by engineering their ROVs to address global issues.

The MATE ROV Competition VR World includes a Welcome Center with orientation and onboarding resources, gallery of slideshows and videos, an aquarium, interactive activities to engage visitors, an exhibit area for sponsors and supporters, and more. Participating teams submitted "assets," such as photos of their team and ROV, to populate their virtual workstations and earn bonus points. Other VR spaces include a pool and auditorium where the championship will be livestreamed. Anyone over 13 years old can access the free space and set up an avatar. The competition also will be shared via Twitch at http://www.twitch.tv/mateinspires1.

"Each year we challenge students to be innovative and entrepreneurial. This year, we're certainly challenging ourselves to be the same. We have upped our game with this foray into VR. No other robotics competition is doing what we are doing this year,'" said Jill Zande, president and executive director of MATE Inspiration for Innovation (MATE II) and one of the founders of the competition.

The MATE ROV Competition challenges students to apply math, electronics, engineering and physics toward solving problems based on real-world workplace scenarios. The competition tasks students from K-12, community colleges and universities within four levels (EXPLORER, RANGER, NAVIGATOR and SCOUT) to design, build and test underwater robots to complete specified, simulated real-world missions. Students also must organize themselves into mock companies, encouraging them to develop entrepreneurial thinking and business and project management skills while spurring innovation and collaboration to produce and compete with ROVs.

Organized by the MATE II, the competition is supported by the Marine Technology Society and its ROV Committee, the National Science Foundation and other technology and education-related organizations, including Schmidt Ocean Institute, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. Local sponsors include Ballad Health, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Niswonger Foundation and the Bank of Tennessee.

For more information on the VR World, visit http://ncatech.org/mate-virtual/. For the in-person event, visit https://materovcompetition.org/worldchampinfo.

About the MATE ROV Competition
Established with funding from the National Science Foundation at Monterey Peninsula College in 1997, the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center worked with the Marine Technology Society's ROV Committee to create the MATE ROV Competition. The first event kicked off in 2001. Fifteen years later, MATE Inspiration for Innovation (MATE II) incorporated in the state of California as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2016. MATE II was founded to support and sustain ongoing education activities initiated at the MATE Center. To learn more, visit https://www.marinetech.org/rov-competition/.

Media Contact

Jill Zande, MATE Inspiration for Innovation, (831) 262-1318, jzande@marinetech.org

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