You are viewing the Bent Prop Project legacy site. This site is no longer being maintained, but remains as an archive. Return to main site.
2015 BentProp Progress Report # 16

P-MAN XVII Update # 16 - This is a *BIG* reason why the work that BentProp does is so satisfying.

Submitted by Josh Nichols, 5th-grade teacher at Stockbridge (Michigan) Heritage Elementary, who accompanied the Advanced Underwater Robotics Program team to Palau in 2015.

14 April 2015

Dear BentProp Team,

Flip always provides a field report of what goes on daily so I thought I would share with you what took place this year in the schools. Here is my final report for this year's mission.

Final Report

Met up with the new principal at Koror Elementary. She was very excited about what BentProp does with ROV technology and she is very interested in growing an ROV program at Koror Elementary.

Mayleen Ngiriou created a team of teachers for me to work with during my stay and this team impressed me and surpassed any goals I had for them. The team included Emily Kaleb whom I met four years ago at the Elementary gate on a Good Friday with an ROV in my hand, Gilham Obeketang, Jed Gibson, Larson Siles, Neil Fisher (from Northern Babeldaob, Ngarchelong Elementary) and Niva Siles. I taught them how to build a complete ROV starting with a printed circuit board for the control system. Not only did they get it, they shared how to build it the following day with the maintenance staff, gym teacher and friends.

Here is an email that was sent to me after the workshop:

Let me represent my team and express our most heartfelt gratitude that we were and are able to be part of your ROV team. It is really exciting and heartwarming to see teachers like little kids who have been given a new toy. Just imagine the students! It will be an incentive for teachers that is priceless. Thank you very much.

I was aware of the ROV before when you visited. We are entering into a more complex and technological society that needs ROVs not to mention that ROVs make learning fun and teaching easier and most importantly, we bring out the best in our students. I am officially assigning Mr. Jed Gibson, Mr. Larson Siles, Mr. Chris Debengek, and Mr. Gilham Obeketang from KES, and Mr. Neil Fisher from Ngarchelong Elementary School to be ROV representative, and once we solidify the partnership, we will try and slowly spread to other outlying schools.

These programs are meant to be shared. We have to let the passion thrive our action to complete the task if we have that burning desire to do it. Accompanying you on the trip to Ngardmau really made my day. I am sorry for not being able to attend the workshop with the team, however, I will be the shadowing booster to make sure that these team gets the job done.

Hey, we are surrounded by salt water and fresh water. We need ROVs to help us own our land and ocean. Let our kids be the ones to discover something new, or be the driving future of our technical and globalizing society.

Once again, my heartfelt appreciation, and I look forward to harmoniously work with the ROV team in the future, and developing Palau ROV teams to ensure students' learning success. Have a good night and I will be seeing you tomorrow.

I will try and send the application tonight. I have finished with Neil Fisher's, and three left. Thanks for the letter. It will be of great assistance.


Mayl is a strong leader and is very excited to get her students to a level of someday working with our high school students and searching together.

Jed Gibson taking what he learned at the workshop
and spreading it to the students in Ngardmau.

Neil Fisher (6th grade teacher with ponytail) comes in to check out the ROV.
He heard we were taking the boat out later that day and asked if he could join.

The little boy looking at the ROV later gave it a hug.
I was not fast enough with my camera. I wish I knew what he was thinking.

Here is a picture of the Mini ROV
that I taught them how to build with a simple circuit board.

The students beat the teachers in building an ROV the fastest.
We left Ngardmau and headed to Sam's Tours
to meet Joel from Palau Community College
along with two of his students.

Palau Community College

This year we made it a goal to meet with Palau Community College (PCC). I had the privilege of meeting with the Palau Community College President, Dr. Patrick Tellei. At first I thought the meeting was going south. He had a different take on ROV technology and I learned a lot from him. He was very concerned about ROV technology getting in the wrong hands. He feels that if the technology is introduced, it should accompany legislation. He expressed concerns about fisherman using it to find new spawning grounds. I listened. I shared ideas of how the ROV can be used as a tool for research, how it is used as a tool to find planes and how it could be used to explore spawning grounds. After a few discussions about basketball (he noticed my height) the conversation ended with laughs and a direct line to one of his instructors. That is when I got to meet General Electronics Instructor, Joel Yabes.

Joel brought 6 students and two other instructors to a workshop that I held at Koror Elementary the following day. We provided them with the gear and tools needed to build an ROV. They had some equipment that they purchased from Marine Advanced Technology Education MATE the previous year but it sat on a shelf. After a few hours, they had it wired and they left to build a frame.

Sam's Tours

The Koror teachers and PCC all met at Sam's Tours to head out on the ocean to test their new vehicles. All of the ROVs looked unique and were ready for their first swim. The Koror teachers headed out with me and the PCC group headed out with the Stockbridge High School students and Pat Scannon. Our goal was to meet at the Japenese Zero, but the tides had a different plan. The Koror teachers headed to a sunken ship and the PCC group tested theirs at another location. Both teams tested their ROVs, made changes and piloted them while they looked through their new camera and monitor system that they had built earlier in the week.

Heading out on the boat. Sam's tours provided a free boat! Thanks Li Li Tey!

Chris the maintenance man did not want to give up the controls.

No more looking in the water. They learned to pilot the ROV by looking at the monitor.

An entryway into the ship. I explained that if the ROV got caught in there,
they would have to dive in to retrieve it. They decided to stay away for now.

Mini ROVs

This past year I created a small ROV that I use in my classroom back in Stockbridge. I created a circuit board for students to solder and then the students build a frame to mount motors on. I had the 6th grade students in Palau build these mini ROVs and then they taught the 1st grade students at their school how to drive them. Here is one of the Mini ROVs the students built. They created a foam Palauan flag for buoyancy.

Showing them how to solder the switches on

Now their turn. Soldering printed circuit board for Mini ROV

Building the frame of the Mini ROV

Getting the buoyancy figured out.

Palauan flag Mini ROV

1st Grade students piloting the Mini ROV in a Gallon drum cut in half

All the ROVs and a Robot Magazine that features the Stockbridge High School team.
These students will one day work side-by-side with our high school students

- Josh Nichols

Return to the Progress Report Index