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Story in the School of Engineering

Kute photo

Casey Kute '08

Mechanical Engineering major
At a glance:

Mechanical engineering graduate creates a search-and-rescue machine that locates people in disasters.

The chance to build cool stuff in Santa Clara University's robotics lab is what drew Casey Kute from Louisville, Kentucky, to Santa Clara. "I love hands-on work," she says. "Actually building something helps learning so much."

A mechanical engineering major, Casey built a modular rescue robot with a team of fellow engineers for her senior design project. The machine "looks like a tank," explains Casey, because it was adapted from a robot built for a previous project. But the team repurposed it to create a search-and-rescue machine that can be used to locate people or hazards in a disaster scene.

"I was inspired after 9/11," says Casey. The robot can climb stairs, carry supplies, identify different toxins, and find a victim at a disaster site. It's adaptable to many different situations and environments, with cameras and rescue equipment that can be added or removed depending on need. "It's pretty awesome," she says.

Watch a video about the SCU robotics lab below.

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