Lab Buddy System with highlighted components.

Lab Buddy System

The Lab Buddy System is one of our approaches to a truely hybrid experimental photonics lab.The concept is already embedded in the M.Sc. Photonics course.
Lab Buddy System with highlighted components.
Image: Falko Sojka

One experiment, two teams

Hands-on experience in the optics labs is a key part of our M.Sc. Photonics program. Our approach for the digitalization of this core element is the Lab Buddy System, which is operating since 2021. It is a multi-camera conference system that connects two teams to work together: one team is the on-site students in the real-word lab while the other team is connected via the Lab Buddy System. The system essentially consists of a video conference meeting equipped with a large number of cameras – in our case PiCams – which provide various perspectives on the experimental setup. There is also a hands-free device that enables audio interaction regardless of the number of people present.

After finishing the lab course, students from both teams are supposed to have gained some experimental and team work experience. The teams are also expected to write a joint, scientific report on the experiment explaining and analysing the experimental results. Both the performance in the laboratory as well as the reports submitted are graded by the lab supervisors.

Scheme of the Lab Buddy System Scheme of the Lab Buddy System Illustration: Fako Sojka

Main goals for the implementation

Easy installation

With the use of single-board computers, which autoconnect themselves to the meeting, we were able to provide a quick setup. The system can be used by any lab course supervisor with little instructions.

Easy management

Making use of the breakout room function of Zoom, it is easy to manage a number of different groups.

Easy to use

The number of participants both onsite and online is flexible and the cameras can be adjusted even while the experiment is ongoing. Thus, it can be ensured that the current points of interest are always captured in detail. All components are stored in a compact suitcase and can be installed in a short period of time to spontaneously adapt to schedule changes.


Jari DOMKE Jari DOMKE Image: Private


Project associate digiPHOTON
Phone:         +49 3641 9-47578

Digitalization of the MSc Photonics course and optics labs

Abbe Center of Photonics - Office 202