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UW students Tysen Mulder, Taylor Juve, Scott Daley (left to right, foreground), Brian auf der Springe and Ryan Cox (standing behind) launch the robot during a recent regional competition. Trina Litchendorf photo, courtesy University of Washington.

Many of the students competing in an international underwater robotics competition in Florida next month are engineering their robots to dive to a little more than 5 meters, or roughly 17 feet.

But a team from the University of Washington in Seattle is aiming much higher than that — or lower, to be more precise.

As detailed in this UW article, the student team is making a robot that can descend to at least 100 meters, and operate in saltwater, so that it can ultimately be used by researchers in the field.

The robot is about the size of a large microwave, with a pneumatic gripper, drawing power from a tether and using off-the-shelf trolling motors to maneuver.

The robot is a project of a UW club started in part by sophomore Trevor Uptain. Miles Logsdon, a senior lecturer from the UW School of Oceanography, plans to use the robot this summer to start mapping part of the Puget Sound seafloor.

Uptain and Rick Rupan, a research engineer in the School of Oceanography, hope to start an accredited course that will produce a new robot every two years.

The underwater robotics competition, run by the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center, will be in Seattle next year.

UW writer Nancy Gohring has the full story here.

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