Using cutting-edge technology, a group of Michigan teenagers hope they will locate evidence of the bravery displayed by America’s Greatest Generation halfway across the world.
Students from Michigan’s Stockbridge High School will soon take their knowledge of robotics and travel to a remote island in search of lost World War II planes and perhaps aid in finding the remains of lost servicemen.
The planes are believed to be located off of Palau, which is located in the Pacific Ocean.
In March, the students will travel to the remote island where they will work with volunteers from the BentProp Project.
The location is likely to hold wreckage. Side-scanning sonar technology has already been employed to identify sites where there are “signs of wreckage that are in water too deep for casual diving,” The Lansing State Journal said. Using the students’ robot, the sites will be photographed and it will be determined if human beings should dive into the water in these areas to search for the wreckage.
“These talented young folks, under the direction of their teacher Bob Richards, have constructed a tethered, underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that can be steered underwater and includes a couple of video cameras,” according to information posted on the BentProp Project website. “The Stockbridge team will be assisting BentProp in investigating a number of potential underwater crash sites … located last year. … The depth of many of these sites is close to the limit of conventional SCUBA, which would make it impractical for a small team … to initially explore all of them by diving. Using the ROV's video capability will allow us to examine these sites and decide which deserve further detailed exploration by divers.”
Weekly, Richards and the students have tested the robot in a pool at a nearby middle school. Once submerged, the robot can go as low as 125 feet in the ocean. It is fitted with a camera to send video to a laptop computer for viewing.
Palau is a location where there is significant promise for finding the wreckage. Flip Colmer, a volunteer with BentProp, has been there many times.
"We do the legwork that the official government searchers don't have the budget or time to do," Colmer told The Lansing State Journal.
So far, the Stockbridge High School students raised $30,000 of the $40,000 required to pay for the trip to the Pacific.
The students at Stockbridge High School are not the only students in Michigan working on robotics. TMCnet reported recently that a high school robotics team at Macomb Academy of Arts and Sciences in Armada has led to an increased sense of community pride.
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Edited by Rich Steeves