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NORTH BEND — Students from the North Bend High School and Middle School science clubs competed in a remote control SeaPerch competition.

A SeaPerch is an underwater, remotely operated vehicle. Participating students had to use these small robotic subs they built to maneuver through a scavenger hunt and an obstacle course, with the fastest to complete the tasks the winner.

“It takes the kids about a week and a half to build. They’re made out of PVC pipe… Originally I got kits from the Sea Perch Organization, but after looking and seeing what was in there I realized I could get everything locally,” Darren Sinko, middle school science teacher and science club founder said

These contraptions consist of a box shaped frame made out of PVC, with two small floats made from spongy pool noodle material at the top to help control depth. The frame is outfitted with three 12 volt engines, which are housed in old film cases to protect them from the water. There is also a PVC armature on the front used for completing the underwater tasks these crafts are built for.

“The controllers are kind of difficult, because they have to solder different parts in them. They are kind of specialized and I do have to get them from the SeaPerch Organization,” Sinko said

The obstacle course is a series of hula hoops that the competitors must maneuver their SeaPerch through the fastest than the other students. The scavenger hunt tested the students’ ability to use their SeaPerch to pick up items off of a coat rack with the devices armature, the competition being who can retrieve the most items in the allotted time.

Sinko formed his science club with competition in mind, but is having some trouble finding local schools that are willing to compete. The club has traveled to compete in science competitions around the state. They’ll be traveling to Portland in February to compete in the Bonneville Power Association’s Science Bowl.

“The travel expenses are just killing us. I’m always scrounging for money, and trying to get grants … I would really like to have our competitions be more local.”

Sinko hopes that other local science programs hear about the SeaPerch event and in response work with him to create some local competition.

“I would like to have another one of these competitions in May, hopefully we can get some other schools out to compete,” Sinko said.

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