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The Underwater Robotics Association Continues to Develop — with the Support of Sakhalin Energy

Even though 25 September was a weekday, the shore of Nizhny Lake in the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk city park was especially crowded. The students attending the Children (Youth) Creativity Centre were examining the bottom of the lake using their controlled underwater robots. This way the Underwater Robotics Association demonstrated the results of its work. The club was opened at the beginning of this academic year thanks to a project implemented with the support of Sakhalin Energy as part of the Energy Social Initiatives Fund.

“We are very happy that the area which has no analogues in our region opens up new opportunities for young Sakhalin residents to spend their leisure time in a useful way and to develop technical skills, which will help them become good technical specialists in the future. This is especially true for teenagers, as it is often difficult to engage them in such activities in the digital age,” said Anna Lygina, Lead Specialist of the Social Performance Subdivision.

According to Olga Kolisnichenko, Teaching Methods Counsellor at the Children (Youth) Creativity Centre, an important feature of the curriculum is that children not only control underwater robots, but also apply their knowledge of science and technology in everyday life. “Under the project, we have formed several groups, which receive instruction in the design and programming of underwater robots, as well as develop skills of testing water samples and bottom sediments,” she added.

“Today, one of these groups launched remote-controlled robots, which are set into motion by electricity. These machines are equipped with cameras, and the computer vision enables the automated devices to evaluate obstacles and execute commands in deep water and on the bottom of the lake. As for fully autonomous robots, they are much more complicated, so they can be controlled only by older children who already have certain programming skills.”

Last summer, the new regional supplementary education project won a grant from the Sakhalin Oblast government, so it will successfully continue. Now that it has received funding, the association will be able to purchase additional ready-made models of robots and also individual parts for modelling their own versions of “iron machines”. Hopefully, this will encourage more and more Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk schoolchildren to join in this interesting and useful activity.

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26 September 2019

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