A group of students enrolled in science, business, technology, and engineering programs at Memorial University comprise the team behind “Eastern Edge Robotics.” For the 14th year in a row, they’re competing in the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center’s International Student ROV Competition.

Next week, at NASA in Texas, Memorial’s team while compete against teams from around the world, to showcase their remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). These are underwater robots designed to accomplish specific tasks, but this year’s theme focuses on the use of dual-purpose robotic technology – stuff that will work in both the deep ocean and outer space.

The competition primarily revolves around the use of ROVs in science and industry, where environmental factors make the work required of them difficult. Our team’s ROV will be tasked with abilities ranging from retrieving equipment from the ocean floor to taking measurements on Jupiter’s moon Europa.

This will entail piloting their ROVs at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab, offering students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In addition to being evaluated for their robot’s performances, teams must prepare a technical report, make a presentation to a panel of judges, and create a marketing display.

In doing so, teams replicate an engineering firm where students assume the roles of entrepreneurs. “This project allows us as students to gain hands-on exposure about how projects are developed, managed, and marketed in industry,” said Anthony Randell, CEO, Eastern Edge Robotics.

“By encouraging interdisciplinary development and challenging us to come up with innovative solutions to problems, we gain skills that are directly applicable to the real world.”