Engineering Design Conference Showcases Student Work

An electronic gun lock, a mine-rescue robot and a smartphone app that identifies aquatic invasive species were among the senior design projects that students at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, presented at the Richard J. Fasenmyer Engineering Design Conference on May 2.

Approximately 220 students showed their work, much of which was funded by industry partners, including the U.S. Army, the Ford Motor Co., GE Transportation and the U.S. Department of Labor.

A team of Penn State Behrend students who worked on a mine-rescue robot.Four students worked with the Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration, which wanted a longer tether for its mine-rescue robots. The students redesigned the spool that links the robot to a fiber-optic cable, allowing it to travel deeper into a damaged mine.

As part of their research, the students operated a robot in a mine near Pittsburgh.

“It was a nice mix of hands-on work in the field, computer work in the office and research work in the lab,” said Patrick Urosek, a senior from Connellsville who worked on the project.

All students in the School of Engineering at Penn State Behrend must complete a yearlong capstone applied-design project. That work is showcased at the Fasenmyer conference, which is named for the late Richard J. Fasenmyer ’69, a longtime supporter of Penn State Behrend’s School of Engineering. He founded RJF International Corp., a world leader in the manufacture and distribution of interior wall coverings, industrial matting products and specialty films.

Greg Zimmerman, director of global application engineering for SKF Aerospace, was the featured speaker at the conference. In 2013, SKF opened an innovation center in Penn State Behrend’s Knowledge Park, involving students in aircraft, helicopter, engine and systems work. The company sponsored three additional projects this year.