Tangible Networks

What is Tangible Networks?

‌The Tangible Networks (TN) project is a collaboration between PhD researchers from the BCCS and Espen Knoop, a PhD researcher at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

‌TN is an educational toolkit designed to aid the explanation of ideas, concepts and modelling techniques frequently used in complexity science to people with no scientific or mathematical training.

Project aims

The aim is to make communication of complexity science more hands-on and interactive by replacing the virtual networks of computer simulations with physical units connected together with cables to form a real electrical network.

The aim is to enable schools and other researchers to use the toolkit to more broadly communicate fundamental concepts that underpin world-changing science and technologies.

How does TN work?

Each TN node has a microcontroller running a specific network model (which is re-programmable using open-source software) that affects the flashing, intensity and colour at the node's core, or in some cases produces sound. 

Users can directly influence the network by changing the way that nodes are connected or by altering other parameters in real time using switches and dials - getting hands on with complexity science!‌

You can learn more about Tangible Networks by reading Issue 9 of the BCCS newsletter or using by the menu in the top-right of this webpage.

TN working with schools

The Tangible Networks team was awarded £2000 as part of the School-University Partnerships Initiative (SUPI) set-up by Research Councils UK.

In 2015, the team will be working on developing TN with teachers and pupils to bring innovative science communication into local classrooms.

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