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Student developed instrumentation: Use of test tank facility
Project Manager/Lead Scientist: Geoff Wheat


One of the critical needs of the ocean community is the development and maintenance of a pool of talented and dedicated engineers who enjoy the challenges of developing instrumentation for oceanic applications. One means to foster and promote the development of such a pool is to integrate young students into the field by involving them in ocean-related projects.  Engineering student teams, primarily seniors, work with me and faculty at  Santa Clara University (SCU) to design, fabricate, test, and deploy instrumentation for undersea applications. These students have developed several instruments for oceanic applications including three low-cost ROVs (300 and 500 m capability), a tether management system, and a "tool sled" that can be deployed as a benthic station. 

This proposal strives to enhance this educational partnership by providing access to MBARI's  test tank facility to test new instruments and to deploy the instruments in the environment. The first two periods will be for testing instrumentation and to develop ideas for potential modifications. The third and last period will last one day during which the students will test their equipment and give a "hands on" demonstration to MBARI personnel, interested local scientists, and parents. They will also present a seminar at MBARI, interact with a MBARI ROV pilot, and go to sea on the R/V Zephyr. The knowledge offered by a skilled MBARI ROV pilot is invaluable to these students. 

This proposal is designed to provide engineering students at SCU with a test tank facility and to promote interactions with MBARI personnel. These students have benefited greatly from interactions with engineers and operations personnel at MBARI and I hope to continue these interactions and supplement the studentsí education.