Virtual Reality DNA, hold a heart in your hands, cancer flipbooks, and more at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2017.

Rupert Roker and Sorrel Bunting.

The BHF, King’s College, Royal Academy of Engineering, and Rusty Squid Stand at The Royal Society Summer Festival 2017.

Every year the Royal Society runs its free summer exhibition showcasing cutting edge science and technology from across the UK. The exhibition started on Monday and runs until Sunday 9th of July. You can find out more about it and full opening times on the Royal Society’s website. There’s a lot more on in the exhibition than we’ve mentioned here.

Hold a heart in your hands with The BHF at Summer Science

This year the BHF have teamed up with researchers from King’s College London and designers from Rusty Squid to allow visitors to hold a robotic heart in their hands which beats to match their own pulse.

You can read more about the BHF stand in our blog “Hold a heart in your hands at The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition”.

David McGoran from Rusty Squid and David Nordsletten from Kings College London with the mechanical hearts.

Grand challenges

Since 2015 Cancer Research UK have challenged the world-wide research community to identify and overcome the biggest challenges facing cancer researchers today. This Grand Challenge has been taken up by researchers from the National Physical Laboratory who are mapping tumours in order to understand how they work and how we can make better treatments.

CRUK and NPL infographic. More information at

Their stand at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition focusses on this mapping work, moving from a whole tumour view (“Google Earth”) all the way through the cellular level (area maps) down to the molecular level (looking at a particular landmark on a street).

By looking at tumours on all these scales they hope to fully map tumours in finer detail than has ever been possible before and allow you to “zoom into” a tumour to see what’s going on.

Taking a look at their mass spectrometry image, where you can scan and identify the type of molecule in your box as others do the same, is definitely an incentive to come back later in the day and see what has been uncovered. Plus the flip books are pretty cool.

The CRUK NPL flick book

New ways of seeing DNA

A visitor to the Royal Society Summer Exhibition trying the Oxford University team’s VR system

The link between variations in people’s genetic code and disease is well known, but what about the role of changes in how DNA is folded in a cell?

Researchers from the University of Oxford are looking at how different folding patterns in the two meters of DNA in each cell are linked to disease. They’ve created a new virtual reality system to help visualise these patterns.

You can try this virtual reality system for yourself on their stand until the end of the week.

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