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Robotics group ‘T-Wrecks’ make donation to aquatics

(July 30, 2015) During a recent two-day camp at the Red Doors Community Center in Ocean City, Worcester County youth robotics team Titanium Wrecks produced a pair of submersible robots.
Last week the team, T-Wrecks for short, donated their creations to Ocean Pines Aquatics.
“We built the submersibles through a program of the U.S. Navy called SeaPerch,” Team mentor Paul Suplee said. “Each kit costs about $160, and the end result is a waterproof, tethered underwater robot.”
Suplee said Aquatics plans to use the submersible bots for swimming lessons for small children, as well as those with special needs.
“They saw them last year and they loved them,” he said. “Their thinking is they will help keep them focused and engaged and make them more comfortable in the water.”
The team offered a demo of the robots in action to the Aquatics program last Thursday.
“The kids will swim underwater and they’ll play with them,” Suplee said. “It’s fascinating to watch, and they definitely stir up some interest.”
Aquatics Director Colby Phillips said she was grateful for the donation.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to provide new and exciting ways to increase the guest experience with these fun robots,” she said. “I feel these will help children who are afraid of the water overcome those fears with the curiosity of using a robot. We have a swim instructor, Annie Pendleton, who works with teaching swimming to children with autism, and we think these will be well loved by these awesome kids too!”
Phillips said the team gave her a brief tutorial on using the robots, which she compared to operating a remote control car.
“They are very, very cool,” she said.
The T-Wrecks took home several honors at the Chesapeake Regional First Robotics Competition in College Park, Md. in April, earning awards for team spirit and engineering inspiration. The team also participated in the First ​World Championships robotics competition in St. Louis earlier this year.
“We had a great second season,” Suplee said. “We made it back to the world championships again, and we won two of the 14 big awards at College Park, which was awesome because there were 50-some teams.
“We have a very strong team, and we’re working on newer areas of technology that will help us next year,” Suplee added.
Up next, the T-Wrecks will hold its third annual Halloween Beach Bash at Seacrets in October to raise money for the Children’s House by the Sea.
“We’re excited about that because our first year we gave the Children’s House $300 and last year we gave the Children’s House $1,200,” Suplee said. “This year we’re really looking to donate two or three grand to the kids.”
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