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Nine Engineering Students Traveling to Switzerland for Project 'Think 2025'

Students to begin work on Audi-sponsored project, "Think 2025."

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 2-14-2014

Mankato, Minn. – Nine engineering students from Minnesota State University, Mankato’s College of Science, Engineering & Technology are among 45 students from nine universities (listed below) from around the world who will spend a week in Windisch, Switzerland, this month to begin work on an international multi-university project sponsored by Audi, the German automobile manufacturer.

The 45 students will be divided into eight multi-disciplinary teams during a Feb. 20-26 “kick-off” week of team-building exercises in Switzerland before returning to their home universities to work on designing and building interactive products for a four-month futuristic project called “Think 2025.”

(NOTE: In the photo at right, Minnesota State Mankato students, faculty and staff are shown participating in a "virtual kick-off" of the "Think 2025" project via a videoconference that was held Feb. 11.)

“Think 2025” is the latest in a series of Project Oriented Learning Environment (POLE) semester projects that have been organized for the past 14 years by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Windisch, Switzerland. Each semester project is sponsored by an industry partner. The projects provide an opportunity for students and faculty, in collaboration with industry, to learn to work efficiently within multicultural environments on international teams, regardless of geographic and language barriers.

The 2014 POLE spring semester project will bring together the disciplines of industrial and product design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, mechatronics, computer science, plastics technology, psychology, medialogy, automotive engineering and process management.

Minnesota State Mankato students participating in the project include six from the Department of Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering Technology, two from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering & Technology and one from the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering.

For “Think 2025,” student teams will attempt to anticipate broad societal needs in the year 2025 in one of five environments: home, workplace, shopping, transit or education.

In the environment chosen, the project requires each team to build three interactive products and describe them convincingly to illustrate their purpose and ease of use (functional prototype) as well as their visual and haptic appearance (design prototype).

Design reviews will be held via videoconference on March 26 and April 30, and final presentations will be on June 4. The student project solutions will then be on display in an exhibition booth for several weeks this summer at Audi headquarters in Germany.

This will be the first time Minnesota State Mankato has participated in a POLE project, and Minnesota State Mankato is the only United States institution participating this year.

The student work for “Think 2025” will be supervised by 18 faculty members from the participating universities. David Guerra-Zubiaga, an assistant professor in the College of Science, Engineering & Technology’s Automotive & Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program, is the faculty member supervising the Minnesota State Mankato students.

For additional information, please contact Patti Kramlinger, director of development for the College of Science, Engineering & Technology, by phone 507-389-6742 at or by email at

2014 POLE Participating Institutions

  • University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Northwestern Switzerland)
  • Tecnologico de Monterrey, Campus Guadalajara (Mexico)
  • Aalborg University, Campus Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Merz Akademie, Stuttgart (Germany)
  • BTK, Berlin (Germany)
  • Windesheim University (The Netherlands)
  • Zwolle and Technical University Delft (The Netherlands)
  • University of Lund (Sweden)
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato (United States)

More information on the current POLE project is available here.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,409 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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