In Focus - Issue 29 (Spring 2018)

25 IN FOCUS Diving into action Gian Miguel Del Mundo BEng in Computer Science ( ) I am now a third-year engineering student and so proud to have been part of the HKUST team to win the global Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) ROV competition (see also P ). ROV stands for Remotely Operated Vehicle, an unmanned underwater vehicle used for a gamut of purposes, such as exploring deep sea environments, decommissioning oil rigs, and retrieving objects from the seabed. The HKUST ROV team, encompassing engineering students from di erent departments, specializes in creating machines to take part in the MATE competition. I rst joined the team in my freshman year in because I felt underwater robotics was an interesting area awaiting further exploration, especially in Hong Kong. It also gave me the perfect opportunity to apply my own technical knowledge in a practical way. When I joined the team, I took up the roles of chief technical o cer and so ware engineer. I recall feeling nervous about the workload a er hearing that our pool tests would be held from . pm- . am twice a week and have a debrie ng a erwards! How would I survive with all the other work required in a regular semester? I also knew more hours would have to be spent developing our ROV in the lab. The fear disappeared a er seeing Orca, the initial ROV I worked on, move underwater for the rst time. The robot was only a frame comprising essential hardware and thrusters at that point, but it was immensely exhilarating to see how input from di erent team members could create a working machine. This was just the beginning of a long line of sleepless nights at the pool and in the lab. It was all worth it, though, when we won the MATE regional championship. We then moved forward to the international contest held at NASA in the United States. We ended up in fourth place out of teams – motivating us to believe we could aim for the championship. A year later, with a new team roster, I was chosen as chief executive o cer and so ware engineer. We again reached the international competition, held in Long Beach, California this time, with our Beluga ROV. On the day of the result, I remember the tension as the top three teams were being announced, the silent anticipation, and how time seemed to stretch forever. When our team’s name was called in rst place, we immediately started to cheer. We were all so happy that all the hours and e ort we put into the competition had nally paid o . It was a feeling I will never forget. Working together on Beluga, HKUST’s prize-winning underwater robot. 2017 ROV team CEO Gian Miguel Del Mundo.