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This fall, University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering (CSE) students worked for six weeks in their Introduction to Engineering class to create nearly 250 robots, which will be on display at the largest robot show in the Twin Cities on December 12.

William Durfee, University of Minnesota mechanical engineering professor and director of engineering design education, encouraged his students to get creative with their designs. The CSE students were given only a kit of parts, a computer, and the option to use no more than $40 of their own spending money for materials. The only limitations he placed on the robot project were that it must have at least one moving part, "do something interesting," and operate for no more than 60 seconds. Some examples of the robots include a crawling ladybug, a head massager, and a cheese slicer!

You can see all of the robots that were created at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota campus on Monday, December 12 from 2:40 to 4:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and is suitable for all ages. I encourage you to check out this event and see the fantastic work of the University of Minnesota's CSE students!

For more information on this event and photos from previous years, visit www.me.umn.edu/robotshow.


A few weeks ago, I was walking to class in the Carlson School of Management, when all of the sudden a flash mob broke out into song and dance in the Carlson's atrium! It began with a solo saxophonist playing "Deck the Halls," and slowly U of M students joined in with the vocals. The flash mob eventually erupted into a 300-person, gospel-style performance lead by a singer disguised as a security guard.

The members of the flash mob included students from our School of Music choral ensembles, including the Campus Singers, Men's Chorus, Women's Chorus and University Singers. 

It was very entertaining to watch them perform live, and now that the University of Minnesota has posted the video on YouTube, I'd like to share it with all of you. Happy Holidays!

Google has recently become an important entity in the lives of students, faculty and staff at the University of Minnesota. The University of Minnesota is one of the first and leading adopters of Google applications in higher education. In fact, there are currently nearly 90,000 U of M Gmail account users!

Because of Google's impact on our campus, it was an especially great honor to welcome Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google to campus on November 30, 2011. Chairman Schmidt delivered a speech entitled "The Future of the High-Tech Economy: How Technology is Changing Business, Education and Government" at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs on the University of Minnesota campus. His speech discussed technology's impact on our lives, and how it may affect the future.

The event was recently featured on Fox 9 news. Additionally, Schmidt's visit was featured in an article by Twin Cities Business, as well as by the Star Tribune. Both articles describe Schmidt's meeting with CoCo, a Minneapolis co-working firm, and Schmidt's praise of Minneapolis entrepreneurship. Watch the video below to see Schmidt's presentation at the University of Minnesota.

Watch live streaming video from umntv at livestream.com

October 14, 2011, marked the grand opening of the College of Design's Digital Fabrication Lab, or DigiFabLab - a state-of-the-art digital prototyping and fabrication facility, and already it is creating a buzz on and off campus. The DigiFabLab, located in Rapson Hall on the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus, demonstrates the U of M's dedication to providing cutting edge technology to support and enhance the academic experience. Since its grand opening, students at the University of Minnesota have been able to print prototype designs on the four brand-new 3D printers, which has cut the time between concept and finished product from weeks to hours.

The speed and precision of the printers give students the chance to make mistakes and take design risks, then to get their hands on a physical form before making changes. The plastic models the printers produce are tougher than the gypsum models that they had previously been using, and they can be used to test load strength and the function of mechanical components.

The DigiFabLab is just one of many leading technologies offered to students by the College of Design. The College of Design will unveil "first-of-its-kind" virtual reality installation in the upcoming month. Once complete, it will be the largest virtual reality facility of its type at an educational institution in the country. 

Below: Adam Poetter, a senior at the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, who pulls a partly finished 3D rendering of an arch structure out of a Dimension printer; and a close-up of the finished arch.  



If you're looking to become involved on campus, you will definitely find a group that is right for you at the University of Minnesota! The U of M has more than 600 student group available on campus, with a wide variety of options including academic groups, athletic/intramural clubs, fraternities and sororities, and much more. Among these opportunities, you can easily find a close-knit community of students who share your interests. 

Today, I'd like to put the spotlight on Voices Merging--a talented student group who I recently saw perform at Experience Minnesota: a multicultural open house for prospective students and their families, held annually at the University of Minnesota.

Voices Merging (VM) is a multicultural student based artist coalition dedicated to providing venues, workshops and comfortable atmosphere for all types of artists. Voices Merging brings poets, singers, dancers, rappers, actors, musicians of all generations into one room and create a exhilarating experience.

VM has grown to be a driving force not only for young performance artists but has also continued a tradition of spoken word in Minnesota. The activities of Voices Merging lay the foundation for students to express themselves creatively in a safe and supportive environment, and they unite students regardless of ethnicity, age, or differences.

This student group is best known for its bi-weekly open mics on the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. They also hold biennial poetry/hip-hop conferences that bring together well renowned authors, poets, writers and publishers.

For more information, visit the Voices Merging website, or contact the student group at onevoice@umn.edu.

The video below showcases part one of the "From Vices to Verses Hip Hop conference" which is one of the biannual events hosted by Voices Merging, held on the University of Minnesota campus.

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