Rapid Innovation CHALLENGES

Design Thinking & STEM Program

Join our Navy Scientists and Engineers to help them develop solutions to critical challenges they face as they drive innovation in cutting-edge fields.

Students (Secondary and Higher Ed) work in virtual or in-person teams, guided by design-thinking, prototyping, and iterative design scaffolds and prompts on the Scoutlier digital platform, which they can access on individual or shared devices (Chromebooks, laptops, tablets, mobile phones). Their work is visible in real-time to educators for coaching, and teams can request input and feedback from a rich mentor network. Solutions are shared with and recognized by Navy STEM career role models and the Rapid Innovation community. On-demand and virtual professional development and certification for teachers are available for this program.

Dr. Mara Orescanin, Naval Postgraduate School

We depend on our coastlines for living space, our economy, and even our safety. These are put at risk when coastlines change, driven by weather and ocean processes, as well as human activity. Dr. Orescanin and other scientists are developing computer models that help to describe why, when and how coastal change happens. With these models, they hope to be able to predict and mitigate the impacts of coastal change. To be able to create and test these models they need to “see” what is happening at the coastline at all times. This is where you come in.

In “EYES ON THE BEACH,” Dr. Orescanin challenges you to help her develop a way to systematically and frequently monitor the physical changes that occur at the beach she studies so that she can use machine learning to develop a better computer model of coastal change.

Meet the Scientist

Dr. Mara at the beachDr. Mara Orescanin is an Assistant Professor and Oceanographer at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. She researches how the land and sea interact through rivers, inlets, marshes and estuaries. She has been studying the Carmel River State Beach since she moved here in 2016. Her studies began after she visited the beach and watched giant waves crash on the sloped shore when she wondered, “How do those waves move the sand and change the beach and lagoon?””

Dr. Marcos Sastre-Cordova, Raytheon Technologies

Naval mines are used across the world to deny access to harbors and waterways, or to protect friendly vessels, and they pose tremendous challenges for US Navy surface ships and submarines. Engineers like Dr. Sastre-Cordova are working with the Navy to develop autonomous vehicles that can find and inactivate mines safely and efficiently. To “train” these mine countermeasure (MCM) machines to recognize mines and distinguish them from other similar objects, like rocks, anchors, and even marine animals, they need a vast number of pictures of underwater objects in many different conditions. This is where you come in.

In “UNDERWATER VISION,” Dr. Sastre-Cordova challenges you to design an experiment that will test how well inexpensive cameras can take underwater images that can be used to train MCM machines to reliably and autonomously identify mines.

Meet the Scientist

A photo of Dr. Marcos Sastre-Cordova from Raytheon Technologies.Dr. Marcos Sastre-Cordova is a Senior Principal Engineer at Raytheon Technologies in Providence, RI. He is part of an industry-government team that is developing underwater robots that search and destroy enemy mines.

This project is funded by a grant from the Office of Naval Research

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