Students to use optics education kits in German schools

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With openUC2, optical instruments are created in no time at all. Credit: Stiftung für Technologie, Innovation und Forschung Thüringen (STIFT)

A new set of optics teaching kits will be used in schools and student research centres in Thuringian, Germany this academic year. 

The openUC2 (You. See. Too.) optics kits, developed at Leibniz Institute of Photonics Technology (IPHT) in Jena, promote the expansion of various optical instruments, such as microscopes and Keppler/Galileo telescopes, and in turn the understanding of their structure and function.

In addition to their use in schools, the optics kits will also be used in STEM programmes offered by student research centres, extracurricular places of learning for pupils aged 10-18, where needs-based offerings in the fields of mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, and technology are developed and offered. 

The kits’ open-source approach allows users to add their own modules for specific applications in student projects, aiming to put open-source hardware from the optical laboratory into the hands of schoolchildren to give them insights into research and science.

OpenUC2 invites students to discover all the disciplines in the STEM field in a playful way. The optics construction kits can be easily expanded, and their range of functions is only limited by the creativity of the students. 

‘With the chance to use our kit nationwide, we hope that the students will not only awaken their curiosity to observe new things, but also enthusiastically see their environment through the eyepiece of a self-built microscope and become aware of their responsibility for our planet,’  says Dr Benedict Diederich, scientist at Leibniz IPHT and co-developer of openUC2.

This offer for Thuringian schools was made possible primarily through the support of the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation.

Dr Sebastian Germerodt, coordinator of the network of student research centres, adds: ‘The openUC2 optics kits can be used to learn about and try out optical concepts and microscopy methods – both in the classroom and in extracurricular activities at the student research centres.’

Since autumn 2022, the concept of the openUC2 optical toolbox has been continued in an independent technology start-up, the openUC2 GmbH, in order to market the toolboxes professionally. 

(Image: BigPixelPhotos/

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