COLLEGE tutors have designed an electronic training aid to show potential recruits some of the pressures soldiers face on the front line.
Army experts are using the 6ft contraption, which simulates the stresses and strains soldiers are put under when defusing explosive devices in the world’s trouble-spots.
Recruits have just two minutes to make the ‘bomb’ safe. If they cut the correct wire then it plays a tune; if they cut the wrong one, or run out of time, then it sounds a claxon and flashes a light.
The device was the idea of Darlington College electrical and electronics tutor Steve Corner who is also an Army reservist.
It impressed Captain Dave Hamilton, of 102 Battalion REME, based at Newton Aycliffe, so much he informed all of the Army Reserve Centres in the North-East.
The response was so encouraging that the college tutors have also developed a mini 3ft tall version of the full-size simulator.
Also working on the project were engineering tutors Dennis McCabe and Dave Penghilly, IT tutor Simon Blood, bodyshop paint spray tutor James Ditchburn and local fabricator Neil Turner.
The team has managed to find more cost-effective electronics for the device, virtually halving production costs, and has received an order for ten more.
Mr Corner said: “The aim is to create the stress that our troops have to work under when trying to defuse any explosive devices.
“This project developed into a challenging technical and entrepreneurial activity that has been met with great enthusiasm, innovation and team work. I think everyone involved has done a fantastic job and we are thrilled that the army has shown such interest.”
He said the project was a great example of the variety of work that could be commissioned in engineering and electronics, which is what made the area so appealing to students.