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A game of chance played inside a quantum computer.


Qubit is a game played in a court made of the laser beams, controlled by a quantum computer.  Qubit Challenges you to predict the speed or location of a particle you can’t know both.

Your objective is to win, probably…

The Game

The game is played from the centre of a court made from four lasers. The lasers are aimed at sensors so we can detect when the beams are broken.

At the start of each round we release a virtual particle in to the circuit. This virtual particle travels along the laser beams at an unknown speed. The conceit of the game is that at any time we can narrow down the virtual particles position to one of two beams. The players then have to guess which of the two beams the particle is in and try to observe it. Observing a particle is done with a Hand Held Observation Platform a HOOP. At 15 second intervals players have to roll their hoop in to the path of the beam they think contains the virtual particle. If they get it right then the Qubit will calculate a point for them. If they get it wrong though they loose the HOOP. Players have a total of four HOOPS to play the game with.

How it works

Qubit takes the sometimes frightening world of the quantum and makes it playable with a hoop. The game uses a laser interferometer as a single bit in a quantum computer. We use this qubit to as a score calculator. Every time a player successfully guesses the location of one of our virtual particles, the Qubit will calculate 1 point for them.

Specifically, Getting a hoop in the right beam at the right time will set of a vibration motor that will wobble the nicely superpositioned beams coming out of our interferometer. There is a camera monitoring these beams. When the signal is analysed, it lets us know when we have a nice stable state and when it collapses. 

The game is simple to play and acts as a rabbit hole, a way for people to develop an understanding and an interest in quantum physics. 

The Qubit

A Qubit is just like a bit in any other computer system, except that it uses some quantum effect to allow it to have three states instead of the normal two.  Our Qubit can be On, Off or in a Superposition.

Here is a little vine of my Qubit in action.

Here are our beautiful Hand Operated Observation Platform (HOOPS)

Making the set up of a a laser court easy with our Wifi Laser sensors and stands

The prototype

The prototype game was built  with the help of Now Play This as a part of the 2016 London games festival at Somerset house.


Thanks to Dr Jacques Carolan for his advice on building a Qubit.



Playability and Agency

Playability is a concept that is now used as a metric for how open, engaging and enjoyable an  interaction is.  Playability is really  a route you can take to achieve these goals. The more playable a place, a system or a product is, the more likely it’s users will feel it is open, accessible , engaging and enjoyable. Of course if a task is fun to do, we are all more likely to do it. Here are 5 examples of playability that have promoted a desired behaviour.

Piano Steps

“Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator and feel better” is something we often hear or read in the Sunday papers. Few people actually follow that advice. Can we get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making it fun to do.”

This team turned a staircase in to a giant piano. As a result, 66% more people took the stairs.



piano steps1


World Without Oil

Thinking about big issues is hard to do.  World without oil made it that bit easier by giving you a game like interface to share your reactions through. It was an Alternate Reality Game or ARG that, in 2007, asked people to imagine what their lives would be like if we ran out of oil. Though the project was a fiction, many people enacted the changes they would have to make in there real life. Some examples of these changes to a virtual low carbon life include people turning their actual gardens into vegetable plots.



Cardiff cycle counter

This is a very simple intervention. It’s sensor simply counts the number of cyclists that use this route each day. As you go by you see the daily tally go up by one. This super simple bit of feedback is surprisingly rewarding. The message of you are a cyclist and I see you is a warming break from the anonymity of city life and it’s good to know that whether you see them or not you a re apart of a community of hundreds of other people cycling this route every day.  Whenever I am in Cardiff I choose to cycle a route that takes me past this sign.




Neat Streets

Neat streets was a project that asked:  can a little playfulness help to prevent a lot of littering. Cigarette voting invited people to vote an a variety of topics by picking which slot they put their cigarette ends. Chewing gum dot to dot invited people to collectively draw images with their discarded gum. The pilot projects were so successful that Hubbub the company behind them have put the boxes and boards in to mass production.



Tidy Street

Tidy Street in Brighton was an  energy-saving initiative. Volunteers were given electricity meters so they can monitor their daily energy use, and identify which devices are using the most power, and when. The results were painted as a giant street graph. Users could now talk to each other about energy use and figure out what was costing them the most. As a result average energy consumption went down 15%.






The Interesting Games festival.

What started out as the first pervasive games testing lab, iglab, quickly grew in to one of Bristol’s signature events. Igfest ran for five years from 2008 to 2013.

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