What started out as a project in a children’s book over ten years ago has transformed into an international event beloved by students and teachers around the world. This initiative is fondly known as SeaPerch, and was initially developed as a method of growing the Ocean Engineering Program at MIT. After realizing the potential this program could have as a learning opportunity for more than just college students and teachers, SeaPerch sought and received funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and expanded into a global outreach program within K-12 schools, teaching them robotics, engineering, science, and math (STEM), all while building an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).
With a desire to help expand the SeaPerch program both in Northwest Florida and nationwide, in 2015 TechFarms partnered with the AUVSI Foundation (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) to become the only ONR-sponsored SeaPerch Authorized Engineering Center in the US. TechFarms maintains a fleet of SeaPerch ROVs that are demonstrated at nationwide tradeshows for teachers.
Each year in conjunction with local Navy personnel, TechFarms assists with the construction of underwater obstacle courses for the annual Northwest Florida Regional SeaPerch Challenge held at Gulf Coast State College. The event is attended by hundreds of students who gather around the college’s indoor pool and operate their self-built underwater robots through challenging obstacle courses. This years’ competition will be held on March 9th at Gulf Coast State College. Winning teams qualify to participate in the International SeaPerch Challenge to be held this year on June 2nd at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.