- Design is not just things. We experience the world around us in a myriad of forms, and design should be responsive to this, exploiting this fact to communicate ideas.  By providing firsthand experiences, in the form of workshops, interactive installations and events, these projects aim to engage people in a ‘hands-on’ approach, bringing design to life, and as such combining a wide range of skills, ideas and opinions from all involved.

- Knowingly or otherwise, we are immersed in a Digital Topology.  We are surrounded by digital objects and electronics, and these have become an intrinsic, inescapable part of contemporary life at all levels.  The projects in this category consider the current and future development of this landscape, and how digital technology can be used in a social, cultural and local way.  Merging digital and non-digital elements, I aim to create subtle and creative alternatives for this technology, questioning (and breaking) the rules of the current digital paradigm.

- These projects challenge the concept of what is (im)possible. Asking what we really know about reality, these designs are fantastical in their nature, but never frivolous or parodies. Taking design beyond its traditional role, I intend to show how it can be used to not only clarify, but to distort. Such speculative design can excite and stimulate, feeding our need for discovery and our imagination. The products in this category take us beyond our hopes for the future, making tangible our dreams of today.

The Quantum Parallelograph
The Quantum Parallelograph
The Quantum Parallelograph
The Quantum Parallelograph
The Quantum Parallelograph

The Quantum Parallelograph

New Designers Designersblock Award for “Outstanding Creativity and Original Thought”

The Quantum Parallelograph is an exploratory public engagement project examining the scientific and philosophical ideas surrounding the theory of quantum physics and multiple universes. The device simulates the experience of users being able to glimpse into their “parallel lives” – to observe their alternate realities.

The project is rooted in the pioneering work of Professor David Deutsch of Oxford University, and the earlier work of Professor Hugh Everett, who argue for infinite copies of ourselves existing within multiple universes. The Quantum Parallelograph seeks to reveal to the personal user how such ideas of alternative realities may be envisaged.

The device uses online sources to find the “parallel lives” of users, and prints out a short statement about their “simultaneous” life in a parallel world.

By applying Young’s Double Slit Experiment to the product’s operation, the project attempts to demonstrate one of the strange properties of quantum physics that hints at the existence of parallel universes. Modern ideas on the Multiverse suggest that when a photon of light appears to pass through the double slits, a connection is made across universes, and the photon interacts with its parallel version.

Despite the hypothetical nature of information being passed between universes, the project serves to raise questions and provoke thoughts about the nature of our reality and our lives, as well as being a useful tool to communicate modern theories in physics.

The notion of parallel universes has been around for a long time, but until recently was confined to the realm of science fiction. Now, however, scientists are giving serious consideration to their existence, while paradoxically doubt is growing about the full extent of our ability to perceive (our own) reality.

Like the blurb of a good book, the results from the Parallelograph are often slightly ambiguous but always intriguing, almost demanding further thought. These glimpses only reveal a small portion of the larger narrative in these parallel lives, but be warned, some of your lives may be more disturbing than you would hope.

Research Specialists:

Dr Simon Horsley, School of Physics & Astronomy, St. Andrews University.

Dr Gary Callon, Division of Electronic Engineering & Physics, University of Dundee.