What Is Sea Perch?
Sea Perch is an innovative underwater robotics program that trains teachers - who then train their students - to build an ROV, or remotely operated vehicle. The program, started by MIT Sea Grant (MITSG) in 2003, is aimed at igniting children's enthusiasm for science, technology, and engineering.
The program takes its inspiration from the design presented in "Build Your Own Under Water Robot and Other Wet Projects" by Harry Bohm and Vickie Jensen.
Using that simple design, Dr. Tom Consi (a former post-doc and research engineer for MITSG) introduced the Sea Perch ROV to MIT's Ocean Engineering program in a 1997 seminar that evolved into MIT's "Discover Ocean Engineering Program" for pre-freshman.
Students testing Sea Perch in a pool
In 2003, MITSG director, Chryssostomos Chryssostomidis, and educational coordinator, Brandy M. Wilbur, developed an opportunity for teachers and student of all ages to build their own ROVs using PVC pipe and other inexpensive, easily available materials. The MIT Sea Perch program is now in over 200 schools in the US and is expanding internationally with programs currently in Cyprus and France.