The 5th Dimensional Camera blends physics and speculative design to translate Hugh Everett's 'Many Worlds' theory of quantum mechanics into a tangible prototype. The 5th Dimensional Camera is presented at the City Fictions museum, which presents speculative objects from the future rather than relics from the past.

With researchers working to harness the the peculiar workings of our subatomic world, the device explores the implications of one of its more concrete and immediate applications of this subatomic phenomena: quantum computing.

According to the many-worlds theory, first posited by Hugh Everett in 1957, although we observe time as linear, diverging timelines occur in parallel worlds, with each possible outcome having a different probability. In the world of quantum computing, this concept is reflected in the superposition principle, the ability of particles to be in two or more states at once, which is used to perform massive parallel processing. The 5th Dimensional Camera explores how we might see all these different worlds at the same time, in a metaphorical many-lensed object. All the possible ramifications of any decision or action or day would theoretically be visible, thus visualizing all the worlds that branch out from our linear timeline; the longer the period for which the camera’s timer is set, the more time there is for new worlds to branch out from our own and, in turn, the more novel some of those worlds are likely to be. The designers hope that the camera will make tangible the wider implications of quantum computing and its effects on our world.

Presented as part of City Fictions, a speculative near future city. Institution: museum.