College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota
College of Science and Engineering
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Switzerland 2009

Jun 10, 09

Zermatt & the Matterhorn - On top of the World

This was by far the best part of the trip for most of us, and it was a perfect way to spend our last two days in Switzerland.

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We took a train to the top of a mountain some 10,000 feet up where there was still plenty of snow.. and had an impressive view of the entire mountain range. Amazingly there was a hotel, several giftshops and an observatory at the spot where the train stopped.

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Jun 9, 09

The Center of Neutrality

We stopped for the night in Geneva, the most neutral spot on planet earth. Where countries come to negotiate without fears or outside pressures. The only things we had to negotiate were the city streets and large fountains that would soak you in seconds if you got too close (a few of us did!).

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Jun 9, 09

Bern!

We stopped in the capitol of Switzerland, Bern. It was just a very short tour through the city, but it was very cool to see such an old and beautiful city.

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Jun 8, 09

Robot Competition

We got back from Munich and were pushed full speed into completeing our robot projects for the competition on Monday. We worked as hard as we could to get our robots done on time, but overall there was a lot left to do when the competition finally came around. We found out quickly about the dire need to test our robots extensively before putting them to work. As such, only one team actually suceeded in capturing a ball, and a few others came close. The winning team recieved champagne and the rest of us got Swiss chocolate for our efforts.

We'll be leaving for Bern and Geneva tomorrow, and then stopping in Zermatt before coming back home.

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Jun 6, 09

Back from Munich

Our group returned today from a three-day trip to Munich.
On 04JUN, we worked on our robots through the morning, before leaving for Munich around 1:00 PM. The trip was about 4 1/2 hours, so there was plenty of time to walk around and see the city once we arrived.
The next day we visited BMW World, the world headquarters of BMW, and were able to tour the plant where they manufacture the 3-series BMWs. Olympic Park, the location of the 1972 Olympic games is right across the street from BMW, so many of us were also able to see that as well.
This morning we checked out of our hotel and began the trip back to Winterthur. On the way, we stopped at the Zeppelin Museum, which is on Lake Constance, on the border between Germany and Switzerland. After our museum tour, we all loaded back onto the bus and drove to a ferry for a trip across the Lake.
We arrived back safely and happily in Winterthur at around 4:00 PM.

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Jun 4, 09

Munich

Just a nice photo from Munich!

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Jun 3, 09

Formula 1

We had an amazing oppertunity today to visit the BMW Sauber F1 team in Switzerland. We saw a lot about how they manufacture the multi-million dollar vehicles and how they use super computers to get it all perfect.

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Jun 3, 09

Some more photos of the Swizerland group

Here are some photos I took while visiting the group in Switzerland.

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Jun 3, 09

More Robots, Arg!

Another morning of only robots. We only have one more morning (tomorrow) to finish, so the pressure is on...

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Jun 1, 09

Trip to the Alps

From 29-31 May we left our robot projects for an excursion into the Alps. The morning of the first day was spent in travel from Winterthur to Chur (pronounced `koor´), a town established by the Romans in the first few centuries AD. After touring Chur, we moved on to take a meal in the Viamala Gorge and then to a town in the valley below Wergenstein to tour a cheese factory. The next day, we went hiking up to a mountain lake above Wergenstein. We ate lunch surrounded by a sweeping view of the valley below. Following lunch, a portion of the group travelled the rest of the way up the mountain ridge.
The morning of Sunday, 31 May, we departed from Wergenstein and toured a small church in the valley before returning to Winterthur.
Click `read more´ to see some pictures from the trip.

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May 30, 09

The Motivated Group

Some students made it all the way to one of the peaks of mountains and had fun playing in the snow.

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May 30, 09

The View from the Alps

Just a few pics from our hike in the Alps.

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May 30, 09

Happy Cows Come from Switzerland

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We visited a small Cheese shop in a town near Wergenstein Switzerland yesterday and learned about how a small cheese maker can survive in a world where low prices and high quanities are the norm.

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May 28, 09

Hard at work.

Well, between yesterday and today, we have spent almost all of our time in the lab working on our robots. Everyone's first proto types were failing miserably, but it was fun to watch them all fall off the cliffs! Panic is starting to set in when we realized that there are only two and a half more days to work on them.

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May 26, 09

Visit to Oerlikon Space

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We took a short trip to Oerlikon Space in Zürich today. It was a very cool place that makes the aerodynamic tops of Space Launch vehicles and also works on parts of the International Space Station. Several students hit up the McDonalds to get a little bit of a taste of home. A meal from McDonalds here costs about $10-$12 US!

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May 25, 09

Pictures of Switzerland

A Few Pictures I have taken of Zürich and Winterthür.

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May 25, 09

We're here!

So we made it here. The plane over was crazy long, and we got into Zürich at 8am. We were all so excited by the time we got settled in Winterthur. It was such a beautiful day here (a little hot) so everyone took the train back to Zürich to explore there.

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May 23, 09

We're in Canada - Eh.

Our flight from MSP to Toronto Canada arrived safely although we had some turbulence. Just a few more hours and then we are off to Switzerland!

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May 21, 09

Institute of Technology Global Seminar - Switzerland

Mechatronics in Switzerland (ME 3080)
May 24–June 12, 2009

Faculty member Jeff Hammer (aerospace engineering and mechanics) leads this seminar for juniors and seniors interested in product design and development. Among the seminar's highlights are design and development of a Mars rover prototype, insights into successful leading Swiss and German production and services enterprises, and a tour of the world's leading lab in high-energy research—CERN (Geneva). See full itinerary.

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