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Attendees of the workshop playing the app 'Black Hole Master'

Imagine being able to control a black hole through your phone? Researchers from the Institute of Gravitational Wave Astronomy have created a gaming app that allows you to become a 'Black Hole Master'.

On Wednesday 1 August, the Gravitational Waves Group held a workshop to showcase their work in creating new apps such as this.

The workshop, led by former PhD student Anna Green and Professor Andreas Freise, Deputy Director of the Institute for Gravitational Wave Astronomy and co-founder of Laser Labs, spent the majority of the workshop focussing on public engagement. The session also included an interactive element as well as attendee participation to help feedback and build upon ideas already in place. While the Gravitational Waves (GW) Group have now built up a small portfolio of apps, the main focus of the session was their latest game ‘Black Hole Master’.

The centre piece of the combined work of Laser Labs and researchers and students, ‘Black Hole Master’ is a fun and attractive game that has the potential to compete with other simple games in the app stores. Currently a 2-player arcade-style game, its fast-paced and quick to play nature draws parallels to that of Pong or air hockey.

Professor Freise said: “With the workshop, we wanted to connect to a more diverse group of people, for example students from other Schools and members of staff in different roles.”

Each player controls a black hole and the aim of the game is to score the most points by using gravity to fling stars past your opponent. With a number of aesthetically pleasing galaxies acting as backdrops, the game itself is not only enjoyable but it’s easy to watch.

“The result has been great,” said Professor Freise, “we now have a long list of intriguing new ideas and plans, and new people we want to engage with. We already know that we will do more activities like this in the future.”

The GW Group are aiming for a test version with the new features discussed in the workshop to be ready by the end of the year, with an official launch of the game planned for summer 2019.

To find out more, please visit the Laser Labs website or follow them on twitter.