The Royal Academy of Engineering and partners are exploring engineering in disability sport with a programme of events to coincide with the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The programme, which takes place throughout September, features exciting design concepts, commercial cutting edge technology and debate on how sport drives engineering innovation.

In a public lecture, to be given on 6 September, Dr Amit Goffer will talk about overcoming vertical mobility impairments. Dr Goffer is the inventor behind the remarkable ‘ReWalk’ powered exoskeleton – the first commercially available upright walking technology to enable wheelchair users with lower-limb disabilities to stand, walk and even climb stairs.

Dr Goffer’s innovation captured the public’s imagination earlier this year after Claire Lomas completed the London Marathon using a bionic ReWalk. He will talk about the merits and types of technologies for supporting up-right ambulation that are replacing the wheelchair, which has been used as a solution to paralysis for 2,000 years, as well as the link between sport and rehabilitation via technology.

An international conference bringing together global experts from academia and industry will take place on 4 September to examine the role of sports as a driver for engineering innovation. Sessions will cover the role that disability sports can play in bringing new materials technologies into the marketplace; the potential impact of recent advances in sensing, imaging and informatics on sport and healthcare technologies and the opportunities for rehabilitation arising from advances in sports biomechanics.

Designs for athletic equipment for Paralympians of the future, including the intriguingly-named, ‘Brainsled’ will be on display from 3-14 September as part of the Rio Tinto Sports Innovation Challenge Exhibition at the Academy. There will also be designs for radical new sporting events and competition models to facilitate active lifestyles for people with disabilities, devised by students from Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art.

Notes for editors

  1. Side by side: innovation and engineering in disability sport, runs from 28 August – 14 September 2012. It is a programme of events combining a conference, lecture, reception and exhibition, hosted by the Academy at 3 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5DG. For more information, please visit:
  2. The conference is supported by: the Royal Academy of Engineering, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Science and Innovation Network, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Knowledge Transfer Network and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).
  3. Founded in 1976, the Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Sarah Griffiths at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0655