The University of Southampton

New interactive demonstration debuted at National Science and Engineering Week

Published: 13 March 2008

The ORC's Optical Society of America Student Chapter were awarded one of three grants by the University’s Faculty of Engineering, Science and Mathematics to build a new hands-on demonstration to teach young people more about how we use optical networks to communicate with people across huge distances.

The team were given £1,000 to build a model optical communications network over a relief map of Europe with nine 'base-stations' which represent various cities across Europe. The display was designed to let people send ‘messages’ by pressing a button on a base station to another base station.  

All the base stations are connected by a network of lines of LEDs, making it easy to see when a message is sent because a light passes from the sender to the receiver along these lines showing routing, wavelength conversion, and multiplexing on a network.

As part of the display, more information about how optical communication networks work in practice and fibre technology was displayed around the relief map. People also had the opportunity to see and touch extra bits and pieces, including fibre preforms.

The demonstration was debuted during National Science and Engineering Week as part of a series of University-wide activities for National Science and Engineering week.

Posted by Marketing Officer, on 10 March 2008.

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