The Royal Academy of Engineering will present a special exhibition of engineering inspired by Star Wars this week when New Scientist Live returns to London’s Excel from 28 September to 1 October. The stand will showcase how engineering innovation is bringing real-life research ever closer to the world of Star Wars, ahead of the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi in December. Visitors will be able to create their own droids with LittleBits electronic building blocks, experience an immersive virtual reality Star Wars world and take part in other interactive experiences.

The Academy’s Engineering inspired by Star Wars stand will include:

  • Mind controlled prosthetics – Professor Matt Dickinson of the University of Central Lancashire will be demonstrating an Anakin Skywalker inspired robotic arm, which allows users to control the arm with just their thoughts.
  • Lightsabers – with the immersive virtual reality world of Star Wars, visitors will be able to wield their own lightsaber.
  • Levitation – Professor Sriram Subramanian and the team from the Interact Lab at the University of Sussex will show visitors how levitation is possible using a cushion of ultrasound.
  • Feel the Force – members of the public can learn about haptics, an ultrasound-based technology that allows you to ‘feel’ invisible objects.

The Academy has also partnered with New Scientist Live to create a new Engineering Zone at the show. The Engineering Zone will explore the innovative engineering behind everything from modern robotics to spacecraft design and giving visitors the chance to interact with some of the latest advances in technology.

The Engineering stage will feature talks on a wide range of engineering topics from the ExoMars Rover to engineering sound, as well as an exciting variety of interactive demonstrations and experiences. Academy Fellows speaking at the show include AI pioneer Dr Demis Hassabis of DeepMind, digital security guru Professor Angela Sasse and materials expert Professor Mark Miodownik from UCL.

Other engineering themed experiences will include virtual reality theme park rides, learning how to extract DNA with an Academy Enterprise Hub Member’s Bento Lab, and participating in a drone building workshop.

Engineering is just one part of the four-day festival that will also feature Cosmos, Earth, Humans and Technology Zones. Demonstrating the most innovative and most provocative science, New Scientist Live is the world’s most exciting festival of ideas.

Over 100 speakers will cover topics from dinosaurs to astronomy and 60 interactive experiences will give visitors the chance to have a chat with Pepper the Robot, experience mind controlled games and visit a pop-up planetarium. The inaugural 2016 event attracted over 22,000 visitors, and was opened by astronaut Tim Peake.

Notes for editors

  1. New Scientist Live takes place from Thursday 28 September to Sunday 1 October at ExCel, London. Further information can be found at
  2. About Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of the UK’s biggest film of all time, The Force Awakens, join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.
    The film stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro.
    Star Wars: The Last Jedi is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman. J.J. Abrams, Tom Karnowski and Jason McGatlin are the executive producers.
    Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in UK cinemas on 14 December 2017.
  3. Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook.

    We have four strategic challenges:
    - Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation
    - Address the engineering skills crisis
    - Position engineering at the heart of society
    - Lead the profession

For more information please contact:

Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering
T: 020 7766 0636
E: Jane Sutton