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Underwater Technology Provides New Opportunities for A/V Tech Classes

Priscilla Guel, Staff Writer

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The A/V arts and technology department in the district acquired new underwater camera equipment from the city of Lake Jackson at the end of this summer because they partnered with BISD to make videos for the Lake Jackson’s cable channel.

The equipment they got is a Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle, or ROV.

“The ROV is a camera with a fish finder that connects to a base unit via a 300 foot tether cable,” A/V teacher, Glen Rankin, explained. “The tether carries signals to and from the drone, but it doesn’t carry power. The drone’s internal battery provides power for about 25 minutes of operation. There is a remote control that uses a phone or tablet as the view screen. A FPV (first person view) headset is included for a more immersive experience.”

The addition of this new technology to the district’s STEM program could be quite beneficial to students. It has the opportunity to lead to a more uncommon pathway that has a bit more of a financial payoff.

Underwater ROV pilots aren’t in high demand, but it is a highly specialized skill, so they can demand higher salaries. Around here offshore oil rigs use ROVs to inspect drill heads on the seafloor,” Rankin said.

One would expect such fancy sounding machinery would be only available to a select group of people that’s had a large amount of training. However, the ROV is not as complicated to use as it may sound, and at first only a little bit of training is needed to navigate it.

“It is crazy easy to use, so some practice with basic maneuvers is all students need. As we do more advanced things students will require more practice time,” Rankin said.

There are a few different people that will be using this new technology. Since it is not solely Brazoswood’s equipment, it will be a little more spread out through the district.

“It is meant for the AV classes for both Bwood and Bport, but it could be used for any good idea. I think the aquatic science classes would get some good use from it,” said Rankin.

As of now, students usage of the underwater ROV is restricted to the campus pools. In the future though, Rankin plans to put it to test at a bigger scale.

“…taking it out in the wild will eventually happen. It can go about 300 feet away from the base, so an offshore trip would be fun. I just don’t want it to get eaten by a shark,” he said.

The equipment will be put to use in the A/V and aquatic science classes, as well as whenever it is needed for a project.  

“A/V students Devon and Triston will probably be taking it to the aquatic science field trip next week and AV students are free to use it whenever they have a need for underwater video. Other teachers are welcome to use it for projects as well,” Rankin said.

The equipment will also be used for the yearbook. It will be useful in getting more accurate and interesting shots at water sports events.

“When I added it to the list I envisioned some amazing water polo shots,” Rankin said.

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Underwater Technology Provides New Opportunities for A/V Tech Classes