Graduating Mechanical Engineering Students Talk to Mainebiz About Capstone

A group of graduating mechanical engineering students — Philip Bean Jr., Matt Harkins, Isaac Walton and Ethan Ray — spoke with Mainebiz about the “autonomous boat” they constructed for their capstone project. The students, all from Maine, said a boat that doesn’t have a human at the wheel could save money in data retrieval for tidal power projects, such as Portland-based Ocean Renewable Power Co.’s pilot project in Cobscook Bay off Eastport that involves 24/7 tracking of the power turbines’ impact on their environment. The students described how they created and tested the boat. The students said they were able to navigate their boat to a specific point and get it to return, but getting it to recognize the buoy will require more testing. Another team of students — Timothy Abraham, Michael White, Robert Daniels and Jacob St. Peter — also spoke about their 12-foot Ted Williams fiberglass skiff and GPS navigation system that they plan to pass on to next year’s senior engineering students.