Underwater robotics competition to make splash in Bryant


The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and Arkansas 4-H will host the 2020 Arkansas SeaPerch Challenge, an underwater robotics competition on March 6 at The Center at Bishop Park in Bryant.

The SeaPerch is a remotely operated submersible robot built from more than three dozen parts, including PVC

Testing the waters: The SeaPerch Challenge is an underwater robotics competition. photo Rob Roedel

pipe, pool noodles, three 12-volt motors and batteries. During the contest, teams must navigate their SeaPerch through obstacle courses and complete other tasks, such as moving plastic rings from one part of the course to another. The goal is to ignite students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

During the 2020 competition, participants will use their SeaPerch robots to simulate a waterway cleanup. The winner of the Arkansas SeaPerch Challenge will advance to the International SeaPerch Challenge, which will be held May 29-31 at the University of Maryland.

“Arkansas’ electric cooperatives are dedicated to providing educational opportunities for youth in all areas of our great state,” says Rob Roedel, director of corporate communications for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “Our partnership with Arkansas 4-H has grown and will continue to expand the Arkansas SeaPerch program and provide STEM-based learning opportunities for future leaders.”

The 2019 competition, which featured 25 teams, included more than 80 competitors from 15 Arkansas counties.

To learn more about the SeaPerch initiative, visit seaperch.org/about.