IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE associate professor creates self-learning digital pinball machine

5 August 2019

A digital pinball machine created by Brigitta Zics, Associate Professor at the UCL Knowledge Lab, has been featured in a Los Angeles art exhibition.

Screenshot of Brigitta Zics's Pachinko Machine

The Pachinko Machine is a virtual pinball machine played by large number of people in Japan. Professor Zics’s digital version was displayed at the SIGGRAPH Exhibition, which featured the latest hardware systems, software tools, and creative services from hundreds of companies.

Zics’s digital version is a self-learning pachinko which plays the game by itself in an automated setup. Through machine-learning algorithms, the pachinko is more likely to achieve a winning result. Throughout the exhibition, the machine improved its performance and results hour after hour. However, its programme is obstructed by a second intelligence embedded within the machine that aims to prevent successful results.

The work aims to represent the walk of life: although one can control parts of it, there is always an element of chance and this may destruct progress and encourage one to stray from their original path.

Brigitta Zics is an award-winning artist whose work explores mixed-media forms combining various material techniques and emerging technologies. She is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts and Associate Professor at the UCL Knowledge Lab. UCL Knowledge Lab is a part of UCL Institute of Education’s (IOE) Department of Culture, Communication and Media.

The Pachinko Machine was at the SIGGRAPH 2019 Exhibition from 28 July – 1 August.



  • Brigitta Zics - Pachinko Machine, Self-Learning Pinball Machine via Vimeo