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5 Students Participating in International Research Project

Three graduate students, two undergraduates working on "From Morse Codes to the Internet of Things."

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 2-25-2015

Pictured at ITU (left to right) on Feb. 11: Minnesota State Mankato faculty member David A. Guerra-Zubiaga and students Nicholas Schweisthal, Olumide Iga, Todd Edlin, David Wahl and Yukiko Yamasaki and Christoph Holliger, director of the POLE program.


Mankato, Minn. – Five Minnesota State University, Mankato students (three graduate, two undergraduate) were among more than 40 students from around the world who spent a week in Windisch, Switzerland, this month to begin work on a four-month international multi-university research project titled “From Morse Codes to the Internet of Things.”

The project involves student teams envisioning novel applications for connecting physical things to the Internet in any area of everyday life (e.g. transit, shopping, homes, workplace) and/or scientific or technological applications (e.g. medicine, economy, finance, production).

The students will be conducting mega-trend research, which may include hypotheses about countercultural developments, and creating scenarios for chosen prototypal scenes. Findings will be presented in a manner understandable to non-experts at a May international exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland using various media (interactive devices, movies, posters, filmed dialogues, etc.).

It’s the second year in a row that Minnesota State Mankato students have participated in the prestigious worldwide project, sponsored this year by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the United Nations headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. ITU, founded in Paris in 1865, is sponsoring this year’s project as part of its 150-year anniversary celebration.

Student participants were divided into multi-disciplinary teams during a Feb. 9-14 “kick-off” week of team-building exercises in Switzerland before returning to their home universities to continue work on their projects through the spring semester.

The project is the latest in a series of Project Oriented Learning Environment (POLE) semester projects that have been organized for the past 15 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 2015 POLE spring semester project brings together the disciplines of industrial and product design, design management, scenography, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, mechatronics, computer science, plastics technology, psychology, medialogy and process management.

Minnesota State Mankato students participating in the project include undergraduates Nicholas Schweisthal and Olumide Ige from the Department of Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering Technology (College of Science, Engineering & Technology) and graduate students Todd Edlin and Yukiko Yamasaki from the Department of Industrial and Organizational Psychology and David Wahl from the Department of Sociology (both departments in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences).

Faculty members from participating universities supervise the student work. David A. 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 David A. Guerra-Zubiaga, assistant professor for the College of Science, Engineering & Technology, by phone 507-389-5810 at or by email at

2015 POLE Participating Institutions

  • University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Northwestern Switzerland)
  • Zurich University of the Arts (Switzerland)
  • Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Guadalajara and Queretaro (Mexico)
  • Aalborg University, Campus Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Merz Akademie, Stuttgart (Germany)
  • BTK, Berlin (Germany)
  • Windesheim University, Zwolle (The Netherlands)
  • Technical University of Lodz (Poland)
  • Illinois Institute of Technology (United States)
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato (United States)

More information on the POLE project 2015 is available online.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,376 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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