Science Foundation Ireland

Rotation Relay: deciphering quantum communications

Rotation Relay

CONNECT has partnered with artist Ed Devane who has created a musical gyroscope, Rotation Relay (pictured here), to communicate complex ideas in quantum communications.

The partnership is supported by the Science Foundation Ireland STEAM Art Collaboration which aims to inspire and engage primary school students and the public with research through the commission of artwork that unite the disciplines of art and science. CONNECT is one of five SFI research centres selected to engage in the initiative after a competitive process.

Jerry Horgan and Deirdre Kilbane at the Walton Institute at Waterford Institute of Technology wrote the successful CONNECT proposal selected by SFI.

Rotation Relay, created by Ed Devane, is a musical gyroscope, that can be controlled via a control interface. A gyroscope can rotate in X, Y and Z axes, and each of these rotational speeds will be user-controllable. The different axes will interact with each other via LEDs and magnetic sensors to trigger tones in a sequence. This musical information will be transmitted as an encoded audio signal through a laser beam and received at another location. The project is an interpretation of various quantum states including teleportation and superposition and draws from the laser satellite communication that will be used by CONNECT when the technology matures.

Announcing the collaborations, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland said: “This new collaboration through the SFI Discovery Primary Science and Maths Programme provides students with access to science in an engaging and educational environment, highlighting the many important connections between science and the arts. The five artists have interpreted their concepts in a variety of exciting ways which are informed by research, but are not purely explanatory in nature. The aim of the initiative is to captivate and inspire children to learn more and I would like to congratulate all those involved in creating these works of art.”

A virtual exhibition of all five artworks will take place for schools and the public to explore the collection and to delve into the stories behind each commission. In tandem with the exhibition, the collaboration between the SFI Research Centres, artists and the SFI Discover Primary Science and Maths programme will launch educational resources to enable primary school students to investigate the research topics further and to inspire attendees to create their own artworks informed by science, technology, engineering and maths.

The final works of art will be showcased for primary schools nationwide through two interactive virtual exhibitions taking place on Wednesday, 12 May, and Thursday, 13 May 2021. To register for the event teachers can sign up via Eventbrite at Queries to

A public virtual exhibition will run from Thursday, 20 May, with an evening launch taking place on this date from 7-9 pm. Registration for this event will also be available via Following the exhibition all five art pieces, information on the projects, and their associated resources will be available at:

CONNECT is the world leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. CONNECT is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. We engage with over 35 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. CONNECT brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation.

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