UNF students tackle fixing Clay County robot

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Clay County Sheriff's Office needed help with some old technology with engineering students from the University of North Florida ready to employ their high tech skills.

The partnership worked for everyone saving taxpayers thousands and earning students some hands on skills.

"Unicorn" is the robot used by SWAT when responding to call outs where mechanized help is is needed. The only problem is that the robot was showing its age could not function anymore.

"It is a thirty year old robot actually impressive robot for old technology," said engineering student Alrjandro Lepervanche who along with two other students and their professor were up to the challenge.

A few hundred dollars in parts combined countless hours troubleshooting got "Unicorn" back up to speed and ready to fight crime.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office says a new robot was out of the question since it would cost upwards of a half million dollars. Not as costly but still expensive would have been shipping the robot out of the country for repairs.

"It was absolutely a win-win situation for everybody," said Lt. Donnie Deas who joined deputies in transporting "Unicorn" back to Clay County where it will be used in crime fighting.

Students who worked on the robot say they enjoyed the challenge of working on something old and making it useful again.


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