LACE: An Interactive Cluster of Tablet Computers and Kinetic Sculpture to Educate General Audiences on Distributed Blockchain Technologies

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Virginia Tech


Blockchain technologies and cryptocurrency have made a significant impact on today's computing and financial sectors, and the use cases for blockchain applications are increasing day by day. However, there is little understanding of blockchain and cryptocurrencies amongst the general public. In this work, we present LACE, a kinetic sculpture and decentralized ledger created to educate audiences on the complexities of cryptocurrency creation through a visual form. We discuss the design and implementation of LACE as a modular system constructed of 10 kinetic units, each unit containing an array of Microsoft Surface tablets and one delta robot arm to perform touch based operations on each tablet with a modified stylus. Through this structure, we establish a distributed computing system in which each tablet represents blockchain nodes that maintain copies of the blockchain, mine for new blocks and process transactions through visual software interfaces. Additionally, we implement an interactive gaming module to help audiences understand the work of blockchain creation and the mining process. Finally, we evaluate the LACE project's effectiveness to teach audiences through a detailed questionnaire at the 2022 Accelerate Festival in Washington, DC. We found that 73% of visitors agreed they were able to learn something new from LACE and 82% enjoyed their interaction with LACE.



Blockchain, Bitcoin Mining, Data Visualization, Distributed Computing, Visual Art, Computer Science Education, Education