Handcuffs

An orange tray with four black velcro handcuffs that have cords between them.
A blue and orange exhibit table with a white and blue information panel behind it. On top of the table is an orange tray with four black velcro handcuffs that have cords between them.

Topology puzzles explore patterns in space.

How it works

Two people wear interlinked handcuffs and solve how to disconnect without removing any handcuffs.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

  • Can you escape without taking the handcuffs off your hands?
  • Where are the loopholes that we could use to escape?

Background

Every time you solve a problem, your brain remembers how you solved it. In the future you should be able to solve similar problems in less time. This puzzle is based on topology, which is a branch of mathematics that investigates how objects form in three dimensional space.

Finding the science in your world

Topology can be applied to many situations, ranging from how material may be woven together for strength, through to growing biological molecules in a laboratory, or preventing a telephone handset cord from twisting too much.