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Chaque projet soutenu par Gebert Rüf Stiftung est présenté sur le site web de la fondation avec en particulier les données de base du projet. Par cette publication, la fondation informe sur les résultats du soutien accordé et contribue à la communication scientifique au sein de la société.


China Hardware Innovation Platform (CHIP)


Für den Inhalt der Angaben zeichnet die Projektleitung verantwortlich.


Dieses von der Gebert Rüf Stiftung geförderte Projekt wird von folgenden weiteren Projektpartnern mitgetragen: Institute for Area and Global Studies, EPFL – College of Humanities, Lausanne, Switzerland; swissnex China, Shanghai, China; Seeedstudio, Shenzhen, China

Données de projet

  • Numéro du projet: GRS-046/15 
  • Subside accordé: CHF 120'000 
  • Consentement: 05.11.2015 
  • Durée: 03.2016 - 07.2018 
  • Champs d'activité:  Venture Kick, seit 2007

Direction du projet

Description du projet

Innovation processes are more and more distributed across organizations, geographies and disciplines. Organizations and teams with very different backgrounds (e.g., design and engineering) must learn to collaborate effectively. This requires the development of a common language across organizational boundaries. At the same time, outsourcing and delocalization to cheaper production areas (e.g., software in India or hardware in China) requires the ability to navigate across different cultures.

Universities and learning organizations are increasingly realizing the importance of experiential learning and immersion. So far very few classes, let alone programs, offer such a learning opportunity. Experiential learning eases the passage between theory and practice. Design of printed circuit boards (PCBs) can be acquired through classes, but we saw already how much the students progressed in their understanding of this piece of hardware when they had to test, build and iterate their devices. Giving students a real device to produce pushes them to solve new problems ranging from sourcing parts to understanding customers’ perspectives. Immersion allows participants to be confronted directly with a different reality. The experience in China brings the students into an accelerating learning pattern regarding this fast-changing country. Rather than a study trip, having to collaborate with local people to secure the production of a device means that they will have to face different work styles, ways of doing business, and a very foreign environment. The team has already run a first pilot (China Hardware Innovation Camp) in 2015 and is currently running a second one in order to gain as much experience «locally» before distributing/replicating the approach across other Swiss academic institutions.

The objective of the China Hardware Innovation Platform (CHIP) is to make such a learning experience available to teams of students across academic institutions in Switzerland.

Quelles sont les particularités de ce projet?

The innovativeness of the project lies in developing a scalable and replicable learning environment for engineering projects involving the development of a connected device (IoT). It also lies in mixing engineering, design and business students and hence tackling issues related to interdisciplinarity both within and across academic institutions. Since teams come up with their own ideas, sense of project ownership is extremely high – so is student involvement. By taking teams through the almost complete process of development a hardware product, CHIP simulates very closely the launch of hardware start-up. In the process, students develop a wide range of soft skills. Last but not least, by going to Southern China to finalize their prototypes, students can not only better understand the globalization of manufacturing but also gain better insights as to the differences in markets and innovative aspects of the Hong-Kong/Shenzhen eco-system.

Etat/résultats intermédiaires

The project has allowed the development of a collaborative platform (community.chi.camp) and of pedagogical material for teams and coordinators participating in the China Hardware Innovation Platform (CHIP) pilot. In addition, a new version of the website was developed to integrate participating institutions and feature the projects.

3 «regional academic triangles» in Switzerland participated in the pilot (September 2016-September 2017): 1) HEAD, HEPIA and HES-Gestion in Geneva, 2) HEIA and HES-Gestion in Fribourg and 3) SUPSI and USI in Ticino. All triangles sent a team composed of 4 to 7 students and developed a connected device: Shuqi (GE), Peggy (FR) and Airaware (TI).

The platform and material were tested. Results show that a structured learning environment with regular milestones and clear deliverables allows teams to achieve results in a relatively autonomous manner. Flexibility is required to cater for the different organizational set-ups of academic institutions. Student learning is high but requires significant support from coordinators.
A service platform for hardware innovators interested in China is available via the CHIC website and in collaboration with swissnex China.
Larger non-academic institutions have shown interest in developing partnerships with the idea of having a mixed team (students + executives).

Revue de presse


Personnes participant au projet

Dr. Marc Laperrouza, project leader, EPFL CDH IAGS-GE, CM 2 271 Centre Midi, Station 10, 015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Damien Buchs, EPFL CDH IAGS-GE, CM 2 267 Centre Midi, Station 10, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Dr. Cédric Duchêne, EPFL-ecal Lab, ECAL 1 20.02 (Bâtiment ECAL), Av. du 24-Janvier 11, 1020 Renens VD, Switzerland
Dr. Pablo Garcia del Valle, EPFL STI IEL ESL, ELG 130 (Bâtiment ELG), Station 11, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Pascal Marmier, swissnex China, 319 XianXia Road, 200051 Shanghai, China
Eric Pan, Seeedstudio, F5, Building 8, Shiling Industrial Park, Xinwei, Number32, Tongsha Road Xili Town, Nanshan District, 518055 Shenzhen, China
Alexandre Wayenberg, EPFL CDH IAGS-GE, CM 2 267 (Centre Midi), Station 10, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Dernière mise à jour de cette présentation du projet  30.07.2020