Shelby the phosphorus-fixing swimming robot wins Merrimack Valley High another $50,000

  • A screenshot from the YouTube video showing the Merrimack Valley High School aquatic robot called Shelby that removes excess phosphorus from waterways. Screenshot

Monitor staff
Published: 4/20/2023 2:44:19 PM
Modified: 4/20/2023 2:44:06 PM

An aquatic robot to help remove phosphorus pollution from local waterways has won Merrimack Valley High School another $50,000 of supplies in a national technology contest on top of an earlier award of $12,000, and put it in the running to win at least $100,000 more.

The robot, called Shelby, is a turtle-shaped swimming machine with mechanical and chemical filters designed to reduce levels of phosphorus in rivers or ponds, which can lead to algae blooms and other environmental problems. Students are building a version that will swim around, take in water, fix the phosphorus, then release the treated water back into the waterway.

Shelby was previously the state winner in the 13th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition, giving Merrimack Valley High School a prize package of $12,000 in technology and school supplies. This week Merrimack Valley was named one of 10 national finalists, which brought an award of $50,000 worth of Samsung and other technical products and services. 

The team is also eligible to be one of three national winners, each of which will get $100,000 in support. And it is in the running for several other awards:  Sustainability Innovation Award Winner, $50,000; Community Choice Winner, chosen by online vote, $10,000; and Employee Choice Winner, chosen by Samsung employees, $10,000.

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