Cape High robotics teams sail to victory

Teams head to national competition in June
May 16, 2018

Cape Robotics teams sailed to numerous victories in the Delaware SeaPerch Competition April 14 at Delaware State University, qualifying two teams for the National SeaPerch competition in June.

Four Cape teams, including one representing the Sussex Consortium, earned first, second, fourth and fifth place overall in the statewide underwater robotics competition. The Office of Naval Research sponsors the competition to provide specialized science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, educational opportunities, and interest students in naval and engineering careers.

During competition, students navigated robots through underwater obstacles to complete challenges, showcasing their understanding of design principles and concepts in an engineering notebook.  

“The judges were very complimentary about our students, and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Cape science teacher Bill Geppert. 

Geppert’s Robotics 1 students built the underwater remotely operated vehicle from a SeaPerch kit. They had a $20 budget to modify the robot with additional materials, such as motor cowlings students designed on Google SketchUp and 3D-printed in Geppert’s class.

“They had to do the waterproofing and circuit soldering, and modify the robot to increase its speed,” Geppert said.

Students practiced operating the robots in pools behind the school and in the school greenhouse, and then corrected any problems in the classroom.  

They also have specific roles: junior Matthew Prestipino is team captain/project coordinator; juniors Royuan Jones and Josh Toback are pilots; senior Jack Whittam, junior Seth Graves and sophomore Jonah Goode provide general support; senior Sophie Schmitt and junior Dane Palmer keep the notebook; senior Colin Thomas and Zach Babbie are assistant engineers; and senior Michael Poore is in charge of motors.

Several Robotics students are interested in military careers after graduation. Jack and Royuan are both Cape JROTC members, and Royuan plans to enter the U.S. Navy. Michael intends to join the U.S. Army.

The National SeaPerch competition takes place from June 1 to 3 at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in Dartmouth, Mass.