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High school students compete in remote operated vehicle contest

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MILWAUKEE -- Area high school students took part in a competition Sunday, March 18th, where they built and tested remote operated vehicles, or ROVs. They put their robots to the test in real-life scenarios.

The ROVs are designed to work and move underwater, and in areas people can't go. The technology has been used in world events, like the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "Exploration, search and rescue, it can be used for almost anything. This is something that will help our environment, help exploration, and get the children enthused, draw them in, and who knows where their creativity will go," ROV operator for Midwest ROV Scott Seymour said.

At UW-Milwaukee's Klotsche Center pool, high school students tested out ROVs they built, searching for World War II shipwrecks and cleaning up oil spills, just like in the real world. "There are hundreds of ships out there right now, and that's part of the problem. These ships are deteriorating and there is a lot of oil out there. We want to inundate our children with this technology," Seymour said.

"We've been working on this for months," Bobby Schulz, a junior at Prairie High School said. Just like in the real world, things can go wrong. "I don't think one thing worked right, but everybody in our group is 10 to 12 times more knowledgeable than when we started. You'd be amazed at the kind of things you'd learn from this," Schulz said.

It may have been a rough presentation day for Schulz and his team from Prairie High School. "The stress of having it have to work and make somebody say 'you have five minutes left,' you don't really know if it's going to work or not. I think that's going to motivate us more to do it than anything else, so we're certainly going to get right back on the horse and work on it," Schulz said.

The first place winner in the ROV competition is eligible for a trip to the international competition that will be held in Orlando, Florida in June.