Liquid robotics, a marine data provider, graciously invited us to a guided tour in their facility in Kawaihae. So on October 18th nine of our members made their way over to the Kawaihae harbor. Upon our arrival we were introduced to their main product, the Wave Glider. The Wave Glider is a marine robot used to gather statistics and other data from the ocean. We were explained the impressive science behind their machine, it uses a rack of rectangular pieces of plastic at an angle to use the force a wave makes to push it forward. This allows the Wave Glider to survive weather that would otherwise be dangerous, when the waves get bigger, it goes faster.
After the initial explanation they took us into the workplace of the man in charge of the Wave Gliders autonomous, James Gosling; or as he is better known, the father of Java. They are working on the Wave Glider SV3, a follow up to the original wave glider. The newer prototype has an expanded capability in terms of autonomy, and they showed us how it can be controlled via Google Maps. It can even detect the proximity of other ships and redirect itself to avoid collision, while still maintaining a course to the original objective. Their workshop was our next stop, a high ceilinged room with an impressive view of the ocean. Here they were working on the SV3 and its propulsion, they talked to us about the possibility of careers in engineering and the diversity of the field; advice which helped us greatly since most of our members plan to pursue jobs in these fields.
Before parting they wished us fair well and answered some more of our questions, most of which had to do with the design and their process of prototyping. They were more than happy to answer our questions and told us exactly how they did what they did, from the testing to the design. The visit gave all the members who attended valuable insight into the possibilities of robotics after high school. The design of the Wave Glider and its autonomous was truly inspiring. It opened our eyes and showed us that what we are doing really is a viable career that can take us places, and it can be more than just a pastime. So once more, we’d like to give a big thank you to firstname.lastname@example.org and all the other folks at liquid robotics for this outstanding opportunity.