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International Collaboration Through The Swiss Darwin21 Design Competition

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Faculty & Program Exchanges: Internationalizing, Collaborations, Interactions

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Page Count


Page Numbers

15.796.1 - 15.796.10

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Paper Authors

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Jeffrey Richardson Purdue University

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Glenn Blackwell Purdue University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

International Collaboration through the Swiss Darwin21 Design Competition


The Swiss Darwin21 design competition is sponsored by companies related to the Swiss automation industry, and is run on a two-year cycle in Switzerland. It involves most of the Universities of Applied Sciences in Switzerland, and for the 2009 competition, included one international Swiss-USA team comprised of students from the electrical, mechanical and industrial design departments of the Lucerne University of Applied Science and Arts – Engineering & Architecture (LUASA), as well as the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology department of Purdue University.

Students and faculty from Lucerne University traveled to Purdue University in the fall of 2008 to meet and to determine assignments for the design and construction aspects of the project. After both teams worked on the project during the fall, and winter of 2008 and the spring of 2009, the Purdue team then traveled to Lucerne, Switzerland, in May 2009 for two weeks to work on the integration of the hardware and software aspects of the project. This project served as the capstone senior design experience for the students from Purdue University.

The student’s were required to: obtain the competition design specifications, which were performance-only specifications and made no attempt to define the electrical or mechanical technologies to be used, submit a proposal, including a preliminary budget, obtain funding for both the cost of the project as well as the costs of travel and lodging, and design and create the competition entry. This paper describes the overall project including the competition, the communications issues faced and solved by the two parts of the team, and the results of the project.


As we continue to merge into a global market, it is imperative that we prepare our students to operate in a global work force environment [1]. Moreover, it is increasingly important for engineering and technology students to have an international experience, both technical and cultural, as part of their undergraduate education [2]. The Internet has the capability to allow students separated by great distances and diverse cultures to successfully participate in joint projects [3].

Darwin21 is a joint venture of the industrial automation sector in Switzerland. Approximately 50 companies, associations and educational institutions are engaged in the project. The goal is to disclose the attractiveness of careers in technology and inspire young people [4]. The challenge for the competition covered by this paper was to develop a body that is able to express five different types of emotions on demand like salutation, relaxing, making an impression, and reacting to acoustical signals. The project teams work on their solutions over a time period of

Richardson, J., & Blackwell, G. (2010, June), International Collaboration Through The Swiss Darwin21 Design Competition Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky.

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