Cayman teams take on international robotics challenge

Layman E. Scott Brac Bots team

Two school teams, the John Gray Aqua Lasers and Layman E. Scott Brac Bots, represented the Cayman Islands at the 2019 International SeaPerch Challenge in College Park, Maryland, earlier this month.

The Brac Bots came in fourth overall in the High School Division and the Aqua Lasers came in eleventh place overall in the Middle School Division. This was the second time both teams competed at international level.

SeaPerch is an underwater robotics programme that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater remotely operated vehicle in an in-school or out-of-school setting.

The International Challenge includes three events that are combined for the overall score: Obstacle Course, Rescue and Recover Mission, and Engineering Notebook.

The Brac Bots stood out in the Rescue and Recover Mission, taking second place.

Following the competition, which was held on 1 and 2 June, the Aqua Lasers spent the day exploring the museums and monuments of nearby Washington, DC.

Desmond White is the coach of the John Gray High School Aqua Lasers. He said the SeaPerch event had become more challenging over the years “as teams look to experiment with new materials and innovative ways of making their remotely operated vehicles more efficient”.

He added, “Our Cayman teams have risen to the occasion and have proven that we are not just ‘showing up’ but are there to compete. This is a true testament to the quality of our local competition and I believe the performances this year will serve as added motivation for all our local schools, which will no doubt further strengthen our performance at both the local and international competitions going forward.”

Desmond White, Matthew Feare, Caleb Feare, Diamond White and Alvan Boxwell Jr. of the John Gray Aqua Lasers team

Layman E. Scott High School Brac Bots Coach Michael Bryan said the school was looking forward to the continued enrichment of its students through this STEM programme. “We have seen the value of the programme and will continue to work with the students in the future in order to help them achieve better results.”

Presented annually by Dart Minds Inspired in collaboration with Maples Group, Women’s International Shipping and Trade Association and London & Amsterdam, the Cayman Islands SeaPerch Challenge is a hands-on integration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, with applications both inside and outside of the classroom.

Dart Senior Manager Education Programmes Glenda McTaggart said in a statement, “These incredible results are testament to the time and effort the Brac Bots and Aqua Lasers put into designing, constructing and testing their underwater Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs). The level of competition was extremely high and they rose to the challenge.”

Maples Group Partner Sherice Arman added, “It is fantastic to be part of this important initiative that helps students in our community explore and engage in STEM activities. The response to this year’s competition was brilliant, and we congratulate and commend all those who participated in this year’s challenge.”