Photo courtesy Karl Wendt:  HTHMA Senior Applied Physics Projects 2009

High Tech High provided the space and freedom for our students and I to take projects to the next level. Mentors, administrators, and donors were critical to the success of these exceptional learning experiences. I have included photos of some of our students work which were published in UnBoxed in 2010. 

Karl Wendt
High Tech High Media Arts 

In the fall of 2009, HTHMA senior engineering students designed and built autonomous robots, called autobots. Each autobot used a computer and an array of sensors to interact with its environment. Student teams completed five autonomous underwater robots, a router, two remote computer controlled cars and a helicopter. Students worked with local mentors to create these devices, exhibited their products at conferences, and received the Regional Occupational Program Excellence Award for their technical and academic achievements.

The HydroStar features a collision detector that helps it avoid obstacles in its path, a computer-controlled active CO2 buoyancy system, and a dual hydrophone system that seeks out sounds underwater.
The HydroPhoenix II can rotate its thrusters, giving it more mobility than other underwater vehicle

This helicopter can fly, hover and land autonomously, using onboard sensor
This modified remote control vehicle, designed by students in the Smart Car group, spells out the letters “MA” in spray chalk through a custom-made dispense


Students designed an autonomous router that can move to any location on the table to drill or cut. Their project will help future HTHMA engineering students build bigger projects.

An Inductive Charging Docking Station transfers power wirelessly underwater.

This autonomous underwater vehicle, the “HY-DRO,” can navigate a pre-programmed underwater course using specific coded directions.