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Five students cap their college careers building recon robot for Tioga County Sheriff’s Office

VESTAL (WBNG) — Colleges around the country are holding graduation ceremonies this month, as students set out to embark on successful careers. One group of seniors from Binghamton University are already making an impact.

For four years, many college students spend their time training and learning to jump into a job. Usually a lot of that time is spent studying, but five mechanical engineering students spent their last semester building a very useful tool. They built a reconnaissance robot for their Capstone Project.

“We did our original design, and we actually had no idea going into it if any of the components, or kind of the backgrounds of it. We really had to do our research,” said Binghamton University Senior and Mechanical Engineering major Christopher Gale, who was one of the students on the project.

From there, the student’s constructed the robot together, tested all of the motor functions, and then designed and tested the app that would run it.

Once complete, the recon robot was donated to the Tioga County Sheriff’s Office for use in the field, a partnership that occurred by chance.

“The professor and one of my deputies was at a wedding, believe it or not. They sat at the same table and they started talking about what they did,” said Tioga County Sheriff Gary W. Howard.

Several months later, the project was done, and everyone is benefiting from the hard work.

“When we have a case where we need to go into a building and look around without sending officers in, and this will be the first thing to go in,” said Howard

“I really enjoyed this project and I really enjoyed the opportunity to help people. It makes me feel like I chose the right thing when I chose to do mechanical engineering,” said Gale.

These students had a unique opportunity taking the technology and skills they learned in their four years here at BU and capping it off into a project that’s going to help out the Tioga County Sheriff’s Department and make their jobs and their lives easier and safer.

A major goal of the project was to keep the cost under one thousand dollars, which was achieved. Sheriff Howard says most recon robots go for over $15,000 normally, so the students saved them lots of money.

Damon Matson

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