August 1, 2016

MIT Sea Grant UROP students build an ROV - Alicia Cabrera-Mino and Kyubin Lee

Alicia Cabrera-Mino, a senior at MIT in mechanical engineering, and Kyubin Lee, a sophomore at MIT, applied to intern at the MIT Sea Grant College Program to learn more about ocean engineering.

Both students were drawn to MIT Sea Grant's Autonomous Underwater Vehicle lab, and are working with Mike Defillipo, a research engineer at MIT Sea Grant. The MIT Sea Grant AUV lab is unique, there aren’t many labs like it that focus solely on underwater vehicles.

Alicia and Kyubin are currently helping to assemble a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, that will be attached to an autonomous surface vehicle.

The ROV will be attached to the unmanned surface vehicle using a tether, allowing researchers to explore the bottoms of bodies of water and take samples of the temperature and salinity as well as do geographical surveys. The unmanned surface vehicle, also known as REX, will deploy the ROV and then be controlled by engineers back on land using an x-box controller attached to a laptop.

Alicia has already constructed the ROV and is now working on software to connect the ROV to the autonomous surface vehicle. Kyubin used software to create three-dimensional sketches that can help in construction. With this software, Kyubin was able to create a box that contains the parts of the ROV that communicate with the laptop. The software helped her to construct the box so that it would fit inside the ROV without disturbing any of the other metal equipment inside.

Toward the end of summer, they hope to be able to use the ROV to explore a manmade coral reef. The use of an ROV greatly reduces the danger of using a human to operate the vehicle and is also more economical. Sensors can be attached to the vehicle to gather important data in hard to reach locations. ROV’s can also be used for educational projects where students explore parts of unknown places in the ocean.

Outside of the lab, Kyubin is part of the Frisbee team, the Korean Student Association, and the sorority Alpha Ki Omega. Alicia likes to golf and play video games when not working on robotics. She is a part of Alpha Phi Omega at MIT which is a co-ed community service fraternity.