What is Utah Underwater Robotics?
Utah Underwater Robotics (UUR) was established in 2012 as an underwater robotics outreach program in Utah Valley middle schools. It is run out of Brigham Young University’s “Splash Lab”. Funding for this program was originally provided by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Even though Utah is in a land-locked state, students build tethered, underwater robots (generally referred to as Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) in industry) while learning valuable concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Participating groups are directed by local, volunteer teachers who help their students construct their own ROVs using materials that are readily available and inexpensive (PVC, DPDT switches, low-density foam, etc.). This program provides a fantastic opportunity for students learn hands-on about basic circuits, buoyancy, simple robotics, material science and innovation.
As you enter the BYU campus there is a sign that says “Enter to learn, go forth to serve.” We interpret this message that we should use the skills and knowledge we have gained to help other people. This is being accomplished through ROV outreach where middle school-aged students are learning about the importance of STEM by working with college students to build ROVs.