The 12th annual International Submarine Races (ISR) took place the last week of June at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock Division. Students were given two years to build a one- or two-person human-powered submarine, which they would race along a 100 meter course in a model basin at the NSWC. Because the subs aren’t waterproof, the teams compete while wearing full scuba gear.
Contestants must follow a 44-page manual, and subs generally cannot be reused from prior years. Because the race takes place every two years teams have some time to plan their vessels.
It may sound like the plot of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon, but the submarine race is yet another way to get engineering students out of classrooms and into workshops—in this case, to create undersea vessels. The race was organized by the NSWC and the Foundation for Undersea Research and Education (FURE) and sponsors include the Oceanic Engineering Society of the IEEE, and the Marine Technology Society.
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