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Underwater battle pits robots against each other

Thursday - 4/12/2012, 9:15am  ET

robot
This is the robot that the Stonewall Jackson High School team will use in the competition. It will fit into a bucket and travel underwater. (WTOP/Hank Silverberg)

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

MANASSAS, Va. - It's a fierce national competition -- and some may think it's a bit nerdy.

More than 80 high school teams from across the country, including some from Virginia, Maryland and D.C., will use robots to carry underwater buckets from one side of a pool to the other.

"They have to design it so it will fit in that bucket and lift it up," says Stanley Jaksic, a technology teacher at Stonewall Jackson High School in Prince William County. The school has a team in the competition.

The robot is made out of PVC piping and has motors that will be protected from the water by wax.

"Students create and design their own robotics to go underwater," says Jaksic.

Stonewall High Freshman Lillian Burkett, who is on the four-member team this year, wants to be an architect. She says designing the robot was lots of fun. Students had to redesign it and make it smaller after the local competition because the original was too big for the bucket used in the national SeaPerch competition.

"I'm not a nerd," Burkett says. "You have to have a lot of intelligence with robotics, so I guess you are smart."

The competition takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Manassas Park Community Center. There are more than 500 students competing, some from as far away as Hawaii.

SeaPerch robotics is a K-12 outreach education program sponsored by the U.S. Navy .

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)