The Queen’s Baton began its journey on 7 October 2021 and eventually completed its 294-day journey across all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth on 27 July 2022, officially representing the start of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The Baton was designed to encompass art, technology, and science. Features included environmental sensors and a 360 camera.There was also a platinum strand to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Copper, aluminium, and brass were cast in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter to represent the bronze, silver and gold medals.
Alumnus Alex Baker (Industrial Design and Technology 2009), Principal Industrial Designer at Raymont-Osman, fellow alumnus Lewis Webber (Industrial Design and Technology 2018), and current student Reuben Parry, worked on the design of the Baton.
When asked how he felt about the experience, Alex said:
“Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough gave me the perfect foundation to build a successful and exciting career designing products and services for some of the world's largest sporting brands. The Queen's Baton was the perfect opportunity to bring all those skills together and put my knowledge into action, combining electronics, software development, user interface and user experience with my industrial design degree.
“We worked hard as a passionate and talented multi-disciplinary team to create a beautiful and iconic design that brought a touch of Birmingham's craftsmanship heritage to the Commonwealth Games.”
While Raymont-Osman and local specialists Kajul and Maokwodesigned the baton, the initial concept and technology was designed by Birmingham Open Media (BOM), led by Director and alumna,Karen Newman (Fine Art 1998).
Birmingham Open Media is an arts organisation that aims to inspire and empower communities through transformational digital experiences. Their innovative technology concept led to the Baton being designed with several technological features including a heart rate monitor connected to the body of the Baton reads the pulse of the Batonbearer, and the Baton glows and pulses in time to their heartbeat.
When the Baton was passed from one person to the next, a special LED animation was triggered through capacitive touch technology, to show the transfer of knowledge from one person to another, and to celebrate a moment of connection, which Birmingham 2022 refered to as the ‘kiss moment’. In addition, a 360 camera was chosen as the Baton’s “eyes”, designed to capture images on route.
Director Karen Newman commented:
“There was always an abundance of energy and creativity on campus at Loughborough. Fine Art students with paint splattered dungarees mixing in with sporty types in lycra, a real sense of challenge, adventure and curiosity. It’s those strengths in design, innovation and sport that ultimately brought our teams together to collaborate on the Queen’s Baton for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“Bringing our expertise with creative technology, BOM developed the original concept and interactive features for what became the world’s first ’smart’ Baton. Under the direction of Tom Osman, Raymont-Osman’s team brought ingenuity throughout the product design and fabrication, creating more than 100 intricate parts (each the stuff of wonder) which brought the beating heart of our Baton to life."
The Baton passed through the Loughborough University campus on 11 July as it made its journey to Birmingham. The Games took place from 28 July – 8 August 2022.
Photo credit: Raymont-Osman