Sea Technology

MAR 2014

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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Page 39 of 75

40 st / March 2014 problem. Ethan Hayon, Joe Huyett, Don Montemarano, Mark Siembab, Michael Giglia and Brandon Vandegrift made up the team of Stevens undergraduate students who participated in the Perseus program, which challenged the fve university teams to build underwater vehicles capable of locating and analyzing inert explosive devices located 40 feet beneath the water's surface. In the Perseus program, failure due to lack of effort was inexcusable; failure associated with striving to develop something new and challenging was an accepted risk. Fur- ther improving the chance for innovation, the teams that focused on designing solutions consisted of undergradu- ate students, most of whom were studying engineering or technology. The students were predisposed to seek out new knowledge through research without being bound to insti- tutional ideologies. The complexity of the task required that a successful team consisted of a diverse group of students, representing multiple disciplines. This would lead to a variety of ideas, improving the chances of innovation. Today's students are very comfortable working at or near the forefront of technol- ogy, and their relative inexperience meant that they were open-minded about new approaches to solving the prob- lem. An advisor ensured that the students did not hurt them- selves, or each other, and kept them moving forward toward innovation. The fact that the project was for undergraduates did not imply there was an existing solution that would be used to judge the project's effectiveness. As such, Perseus was truly an open-ended project. The problem statement the students received was simple and purposefully generalized: "… as- semble an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV), Remote- ly Operated Vehicle (ROV), Autonomous Underwater Vehi- cle (AUV) or Unmanned Service Vessel (USV) in a relatively short period of time that is capable of searching for, locating and collecting information on objects that are potentially unexploded ordnance (UXO)." Tackling the Project Upon receiving the problem statement, the frst thought that students communicated was "this is cool," followed soon after by "this is harder than I thought." With this problem statement and some basic informa- tion on the search area, the teams then moved forward with a process that essentially had only two constraints: the relatively short, eight-month time period from problem statement to demonstration and the maximum budget of $15,000 for developing the solution. The role of the advisor was to keep the project moving forward, but not to give di- "Researchers now estimate at least 31 million pounds of UXO are sitting on the seafoor off the coasts of at least 16 U.S. states." MarBook.indd 40 3/10/14 2:14 PM

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