Three students on an Engineering Design Project course at Johns Hopkins University undertook a challenge from the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company to develop a method to disconnect power lines from residential transformers at a safe distance, beyond the range of dangerous electrical arcs.

Currently, utility workers must wear protective gear and use an 8-foot- long "hot stick" to disconnect lines that typically carry 7,600 volts. This operation sometimes triggers an explosive arc that can cause serious skin burns and eye injuries.

Seniors Kyle Azevedo, Julie Blumreiter Doo Hyun Lee designed a lightweight aluminum frame that uses rope and a lever-and-pulley system to enable the worker to detach a transformer's power connector from a distance of 10 to 12 feet away. Baltimore Gas & Electric intend make further refinements to the tool and evaluate it for use by their workers.

Congratulations to the students on their design and kudos to Johns Hopkins and Baltimore Gas and electric for giving them real-life design problem to work on.


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