When the Eastern Edge Robotics team went looking for improved image quality for its prototype ROVs to be used in competitions, it turned to Inuktun's Crystal Cam cameras.
Since assimilating the cameras into its ROV platforms, the Newfoundland-based Explorer class team from the Marine Institute of Memorial University has been golden, and it's ROVs have been the envy of the Marine Advanced Technology Education ROV contest for the past four years.
"Our previous tilting cameras comprised a board camera tilted by a hobby servo inside an acrylic pipe," explained Clarence Button, a mentor of the team. "We upgraded to cast acrylic and some modest improvement resulted. But the use of the Inuktun products provide us with a whole new world of quality video." The result has been impressive. In the past four years the EER team has earned three gold medals and one silver against some of the strongest Explorer teams on the continent.
Inuktun has been working with student-based ROV teams since 1997.
The Crystal Cam camera, designed and developed by Inuktun, is a unique, high-performance micro video camera that is compact, lightweight and readily affordable. With built-in LED lighting and a high resolution, low lux camera, the Crystal Cam is highly effective in low light environments.
Button also teaches the Ranger team at his place of work, O'Donel high school, which has also had consistent success. Explorer class teams are comprised of former Ranger members from schools across Newfoundland.
Recently, the Newfoundland high school curriculum was re-written to include a provincewide robotics course.
The MATE ROV competition is challenging. Last year's theme included exploring fauna and physical parametres around volcanic structures on mid-ocean ridges. This year's competition, scheduled to be held in Buzzard's Bay, Mass. from June 24-26, requires teams to build ROVs to be support vehicles for submarine rescue.
A change in theme requires a complete reassessment of prior ROVs.
"Frame design buoyancy, camera position and specs and tools change annually," said Button.
The changes, however, keep the students on their toes. From welding to electronics, students learn a wide range of technical skills, among more general skills like teamwork, problem solving, public speaking, presentations and media interviews that come with an entry at the MATE ROV competition.
Button said it is the support of Canadian businesses like Inuktun, however, that make the student ROV projects possible.
"We have enjoyed the generous support of private sector agencies such as Inuktun," he said. "We take pride in announcing our affiliation with Inuktun over the past several years and will continue to do so."
Canadian-based Inuktun Services is an industry leading designer and manufacturer of modular, mobile robotic systems and system components for use in hazardous areas, confined spaces and underwater applications throughout the world. For more information, call 1-800-468-5886 or visit www.inuktun.com.