From the Game to the Lab

Since April, Quantum Moves has been featured in the news all over the world. We asked players to help us collect data and our voice has been heard: 151k players have played Quantum Moves and generated data for our research. However, the curiosity of many gamers and scientists alike lays in what happens after you close the Quantum Moves app. If you ever wondered how your gameplay will be used in the lab, listen closely.

“In the basement of the Institute of Physics and Astronomy at Aarhus University, we are taking the first steps towards realizing data from the players of Quantum Moves in the lab.”

This message is conveyed by our Icelandic team member Ottó Elíasson, one of the PhD-students working in the quantum laboratory in Aarhus. Ottó is referring to the ultimate step in our quantum game project, turning your gameplay into the motion of a real atom! If you need a refresher of this process, check out the snippet of our stop-motion movie below:

“As you see in the video, our atoms really like the laser light and want to be where there is a lot of it. This is why we can move clouds of atoms around with laser beams. The laser makes some sort of a well or a valley for the atoms, and when we move the valley, the atoms will follow.”

And how do you move the well in the lab? Ottó has an explanation for you:

blog_post-02“To control the laser beam position inside the vacuum chamber where we store our atoms, the laser beam passes through a special crystal before it enters the chamber. The crystal is transparent for the light so it easily passes through, but as soon as we start shaking the crystal (creating sound waves passing through it), the beam is deflected, and comes out of the crystal under a different angle, then from it came in. By varying how fast we shake it (the frequency of the sound wave) we precisely control the angle under which it comes out, and thus the position of the atomic cloud in the chamber.”

So this is what happens when the path generated by the player is transferred to the laser controllers, like we see in the movie, and used to move atoms in the lab?

“Yes, to move the atoms from one place to the other, we must gradually increase (or decrease) the frequency of the shaking, from one value to the other depending which direction we want to go! This is how we take your solution from Quantum Moves and turn it into movement of a laser beam!”


What’s even more exciting is that for the first time ever you can see this whole process in action! Next week, ScienceAtHome team leader Jacob and research assistant Aske are flying off to Texas to perform a real live experiment on how a player can move the atoms in the lab in Aarhus by playing Quantum Moves!

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Follow us on Snapchat (ScienceAtHome) next week to witness this experiment in real-time and experience exclusive National Instruments Week 2016 Conference in Austin first hand! So, don't miss the unique opportunity to see what happens in our lab in Denmark when a player in Texas plays Quantum Moves.

Stay tuned to hear more about our exciting week to come!


From the Game to the Lab