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Local students design active shooter door devices

(WEAU)
Published: Apr. 18, 2018 at 9:10 PM CDT
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School shootings across the nation have prompted a project by local college students, which could help make schools safer during dangerous situations.

“From the inside of the door, you slide it over like this, this piece will block anyone from the outside from opening it, so it uses the door frame,” explained UW-Eau Claire freshman Caleb Carr as he showed off his prototype.

Each semester, UW-Eau Claire professor Dr. Doug Dunham tries to challenge his engineering students with a project influenced by real-world situations.

“In this case this semester because of what's been in the news it's about school shootings,” Dunham said, who is the director of materials science and engineering center at the university.

Students were tasked with creating a prototype that would secure a door if an unfortunate situation were to occur.

“It’s always trial and error,” said freshman Caylee Boone. “We just kind of talked through our main ideas and picked the one we thought would work best.”

A total of nine prototypes were made using a 3D printer.

“It is plastic, so in real life we’d make it out of some other material, but it gave them a chance to test it,” Dunham said.

The project did cause a little classroom rivalry.

“It’s more universal if you can go under the door, because door because door handles can be different, a knob or a handle,” said Boone about her device.

While classmate Carr said, “We wanted it to be easy to use, that was our top priority. We saw a lot of other groups had to open the door to install their piece, but we thought if you open the door that's extra time and you’re opening the door to the intruder. We wanted ours to be installed form the inside of the door, so you don't have to take that extra step.”

About half of the projects were designed to go under a door while the other focused on blocking the door handle.

Dunham said just because the project is over, doesn't mean they're going to stop there.

“We actually plan on, with some of these designs, printing them off and putting them in the classrooms,” Dunham said. “At least they'd be there, even if they're only plastic, at least they'd be there.”

He adds this engineering class is offered every semester, so it’s something students can continue to build off of; and are looking to come up with a more general design.