Queen’s Baton 2022

In partnership with Birmingham2022, we led the technology design for the Queen’s Baton for the Commonwealth Games.

ClientThought Catalog ServicesArt Direction Year2021

Our Role: Original Concepts and Technology Design

Recognised for our award winning work in inclusive innovation and user centred interaction, we were commissioned directly by Birmingham 2022 to devise the original concepts for the word’s first ‘smart’ Queen’s Baton that would engage hundreds of thousands of changemakers across the Commonwealth prior to the Games.

The Mission Objectives:

  • Devise the concepts for a ‘smart’ Baton to deliver a live, interactive experience between Batonbearers and the Baton across the Queen’s Baton Relay.
  • Develop the technical specification for a robust technology proposition that will travel acroass the Commonwealth independently due to lockdown with no travelling technician, working across climates, with/without connectivity, on the road for 291 days.
  • Design in the capability to capture the environment and data across the Relay journey.
  • Assist Birmingham2022 in procuring a product designer to design and fabricate the physical Baton.
  • Create a detailed technical specification to brief tending product designers. Work with the appointed product design team to develop the final product through to launch at Buckingham Palace.
  • Provide remote technical support across the global Queen’s Baton Relay, through 72 nations and territories.
  • Gather content collected by the Baton to share in a final exhibition at BOM, and enable air quality data to be used by scientists and for artistic interpretation.

The Execution:

Approached by Birmingham2022 in March 2020, as the Covid pandemic took hold, we developed 5 different concepts  for technology propositions for the Baton. Birmingham2022 wanted to combine three concepts together, which would personify the Baton by giving it eyes (a 360 degree camera), lungs (an air quality sensor) and a heart (heart rate sensor), visualising Batonbearer heartbeats on colour changing LED lights.


We worked with the appointed product design team led by Raymont Osman, fabricators Kajul and community organisation MAOKWO who engaged young people, ensuring integration of the technology within the final design.


BOM also provided remote technical support across the Relay, attending in-person when Covid travel restrictions lifted in Australia.


From 360 video and air quality data from the Baton, we curated an exhibition at BOM, and commissioned artist Antonio Roberts to create a data visualisation which represents the raw air quality data in colourful, abstract ways to represent the changing atmospheric conditions the Baton experienced across the Commonwealth.


The Triumph:


Meeting the Queen was pretty special! The Baton was launched at Buckingham Palace on 7th October 2021. We had a lovely long chat with Her Majesty who wanted to know all about the technology and was curious as to why the Baton had been flashing lights at her whilst she’d been holding it in the Palace. When we said the lights were beating in time to her heartbeat, her response was simply, “extraordinary”.

Seeing the Baton take centre stage at the Games Opening Ceremony is something we’ll never forget too. We’d programmed a secret rainbow lighting effect as a mark of respect for LGBT+ communities across the Commonwealth. We had no idea that Tom Daley decided to make a stand that night by carrying the Baton into the stadium alongside pride flag bearers. An emotional moment, to say the least.

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