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Developing and Enabling Nanotechnology Awareness-Building through the Creation and Exchange of enhanced Communication and Visualisation Tools and Guidance for ‘Seeing at the Nanoscale’

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SeeingNano (Developing and Enabling Nanotechnology Awareness-Building through the Creation and Exchange of enhanced Communication and Visualisation Tools and Guidance for ‘Seeing at the Nanoscale’)

Reporting period: 2014-12-01 to 2016-11-30

Public acceptance of nanotechnologies is of utmost importance to the future success of this enabling technology as a key component to solving some of the most burning societal challenges (such as the fight against climate change in general and the need for a low-carbon energy technology and improving energy- and resource efficiency in particular, as well as allowing for the healthy aging of a growing population), and to restore growth in the European market through securing its industrial competitiveness and creating jobs in its industries.
A growing number of studies into the public understanding of nanosciences and –technologies in particular, and into responsible science-, technology- and risk communication in general show that a lack of understanding creates fear, so that an increased public awareness built through detailed balanced information on the nature and functionality of nanosciences and –technologies is always the first step to the potential creation of acceptance of the same.

To address this issue - and to explain what one can't see -, the SeeingNano project has created Novel Visualisation Tools for Enhanced Nanotechnology Awareness which provide the public with an ability to ‘seeing at the nanoscale’, and an understanding and awareness for the breadth of nanotechnologies, and the uncertainties and potential risks connected to them.

Used in Museums and Science Centres across Europe, SeeingNano provides science educators with a toolset for a large range of audiences.
SeeingNano has identified audiences with key characteristics, developed novel visualisation tools for these audiences, piloted the tools and launched an online repository where all the material, including the tools can be downloaded for free for use by science educators, museums and science centres.

The SeeingNano tools are designed to improve the understanding of the nanoscale for the following audiences :

(a) Youngsters (aged 12-16);
(b) Non-scientific journalists;
(c) Science teachers;
(d) Adult museum visitors (aged 25 -55);
(e) Retirees.

For these audiences, SeeingNano has developed:
- A mobile device application using augmented reality
- Group activities
o A NanoMemory Game, also available as a mobile device application
o A NanoProfiler
o A NanoOrigami
- A short movie, also known as the ‘Explanimation’.

In the duration of the project, these were tested and launched at five European Science Centres and Museums: Ciencia Viva (Portugal) Domus- Museos Científicos Coruñeses (Spain), Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci (Italy), Techmania Science Center o.p.s (Czech Republic) and Ustanova Hiša eksperimentov (Slovenia), thus reaching around 2900 people in these five countries.
SeeingNano has contributed to raising the awareness of European citizens on nanotechnology and enhanced their understanding through publicly available material. The tools generated during the project are available for people to download and can be readily used in different settings for nanotechnology teaching and education.
The tools developed in the project apply novel techniques such as augmented reality for users to ‘see at the nanoscale’. By simply pointing an Android or Apple mobile device to a marker and moving forward, the user is invited to dive into three dimensional models and microscope images of three different modules. For those who want to dig further, each module of the application is supported by an explanation of the science behind it.
SeeingNano also contributed to supporting the good governance of nanotechnology as the Profiler, the Explanimation and the background information provided to support the science behind SeeingNano (the Lexicon and the Glossary) are the tools that highlight the good governance in nanotechnology. The Explanimation explains the risks and hazards associated with nanotechnology and the ways in which scientists are addressing them.
Finally, the project helped and will continue helping with communicating nanotechnology. It can be used as a teaching aid in a number of settings, including classrooms, museum exhibitions or as a stand-alone web accessed toolset for self-education
A user pilots the SeeingNano app at Ciencia Viva
Studio HB's Hannie van den Bergh presents the SeeingNano Profiler at HISA
NIA's Guillaume Flament presents the SeeingNano tools at ICERI 2016
SeeingNano Origami
Testing the Origami at Ciencia Viva