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Remote laboratory infrastructure and experiments

Practable logo with three hexagons and tagline: non-traditional practical work

Open-source digital infrastructure and hardware for remote laboratories in education

Contributor Covenant

Why remote laboratories?

Learners require greater access to practical work in order to achieve today's educational goals. Remote laboratories help overcome the resource squeeze and open new opportunities for pedagogical developments.

Why open source?

Learners and facilitators across courses, institutions and countries benefit from each other's rapid and unfettered developments in this exciting field of digital education, without the limitations of proprietary approaches or the risks of vendor lock-in.

Why share?

A shared approach lowers the barrier to entry for everyone, so we can all grow our activities across the widest ranges of budgets and timescales.

What does a remote lab actually look like?

Remote laboratories come in all shapes and sizes. Our first adopters are focusing on form-factors that let them use public spaces on their campuses. The most recent designs are housed in model shipping containers, to represent the hybrid travel that takes place when a learner accesses an experiment. The first generation wooden boxes have a variegated front panel design to represent the blending of online and in-person spaces.

Remote lab experiments in foyer in model containers

Remote lab experiments in wooden boxes in classroom

Examples of remote laboratory experiment installations at UK Higher Education campuses

Example Academic Outputs


All of the papers below should be openly accessible. If any are not, please just let us know so we can arrange alternative hosting for the affected paper.

Open-source remote laboratory experiments for controls engineering education

Opinion piece: non-traditional practical work for traditional campuses

Post—humanistic 'practices of community' for non-traditional laboratory work (p360-p369)

The future of higher education (HE) hangs on innovating our assessment – but are we ready, willing and able?


Selected recent presentations are available here


Practable is a community-driven project (see papers above for wide range of authorship) that wants to support your institution in having its own identity, as well as benefiting from resource sharing with others.

The system comprises cloud infrastructure and physical experiments. We can share access to our existing facilities, help you build your own, or even build a bespoke turn-key solution for you with your branding - please get in contact to discuss how we can help. At this time, contracts will be processed through the University of Edinburgh (

A key part of the process is the co-development of technology and pedagogy to suit the unique educational goals of each of your courses. We have existing off-the-shelf designs for hardware and user interfaces, and more on the way, if you need experiments on a shorter time frame.


We very much welcome contributions, feature requests, and issues. Our contribution and licensing guidelines are here. The code is changing rapidly as we integrate lessons from two years of high-stakes usage on credit-bearing courses, and will stabilise for the v1 release in due course, so please contact us first before getting started on any contributions (

If you use a personal email address for Github, and wish to acknowledge an institutional copyright on your contributions, you can do that here

If you like the idea of remote labs, but are not sure whether it would work for you, we're also keen to hear about what your particular barriers to adoption might be. Perhaps we are already working on a solution not visible here. Feel free to join the discussion and share your perspective with us.


University of Edinburgh School of Engineering logo


University of Edinburgh School of Engineering logo

Please consider supporting the development of STEM education by adopting and/or funding Practable!


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