TED Reflections.4 Johnny Lee

image Johnny Chung Lee is a Ph.D. Graduate Student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Johnny stole the show for a while at TED by demonstrating some very cheap, but powerful projects that you can do with a Wii remote. These projects are described on his website, and in the videos below. First is a multi-point interactive Whiteboard using the Wii remote and a couple of easy to build infrared LED pens. The second project video is an example of using head tracking for desktop virtual reality displays. As Johnny mentioned at TED, he strives to produce an 80% solution for 10% (or less) of the cost (i.e. Perceptive Pixel vs. Wii remote Whiteboard). Electronic Art’s new game Boom Blox will ship with “hidden” capability for head tracking and the Wii remote. You can keep up to date with Johnny’s projects by following his blog.

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March 9, 2008 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

TED Reflections.3 World 2.0?

give_us It’s been a long day, and it’s not over yet. My flight was delayed by two hours leaving Aspen, causing me to miss my connection. I’m waiting in Chicago for the next flight home which will put me at home about 2 AM. One thought has been bouncing around in my mind over the last couple days… It seems that TED is rapidly becoming more than a conference (really, a series of conferences with TEDEurope, TEDAfrica, & TEDGlobal). Is TED now a movement to influence and effect change on world social issues? In watching the TED Talks over the last year, and now having attended my first TED Conference, it seems to me that TED is becoming a place where representatives from major (and not-so-major) companies with wealthy individuals discuss new breakthroughs, as well as issues within our society. Via the TED Prizes and other informal conversations, TEDsters are coming together to make significant progress on issues where governments and others have been slow to act or have made little progress. Is this World 2.0 – a catchy phrase for a web-enabled world? A consequence of the Internet Age? A new Age of Collaboration? Regardless, it is exciting times.

Yes, this is a bit philosophical. Maybe one shouldn’t blog when they’re tired… Now my connecting flight is also delayed. Ugh!

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photo by Mr. Kris

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March 3, 2008 at 9:26 pm Leave a comment

Where’s TED?

With TED2008 having finished up, some may ask where and when can I participate in a TED conference? Here’s a list of the upcoming meetings….

TEDAfrica: Cape Town, South Africa, 29 September – 1 October 2008. Theme: “What If?” Information and registration here.

TED2009: Long Beach, California, 4-7 February 2009. Theme: “The Great Unveilling”. It’s already sold out.

TEDEurope: Oxford, UK, 22-24 July 2009. Theme: “The Substance Of Things Not Seen”. Registrations will open soon. The first TEDGlobal was held in Oxford in 2005.

TEDGlobal: Mumbai, India, November 2009. Details will follow.

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March 3, 2008 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

TED Reflections.2 Craig Venter

biofuels On Day 2 of TED Craig Venter talked about the current work his institute is undertaking. Since the sequencing of the human genome about eleven years ago, and the subsequent sequencing of a vast number of new genomes, work continues on a three step process to create a synthetic organism. Step one involved the methods and techniques to change one bacterial species into another. Step Two, recently completed, involved the very large scale chemical and biological synthesis of the 582,970 base pair genome of the bacterium, Mycoplasma genitalium. This was an extraordinary feat involving the the large scale chemical synthesis of DNA fragments, and the use of existing and new biological techniques (e.g. using D. Radiodurans to assemble the largest DNA fragments) to “stitch” the fragments together. With this recent success, Venter’s team is now working on the last step of the process – to transplant a fully synthetic bacterial chromosome into a living organism and have it “boot up” the host cell.

Venter’s team has made great strides in understanding the various processes within cells and the genes that control those processes. His new company, Synthetic Genomics, will conduct combinatorial genomics using a collection of ~20 million genes to produce new organisms that will produce among aother things, new biofuels and new antibiotics. If you want to hear some recent talks by Venter, there are many available online. One can be found at PopTech here, as well as the TED Talk below.

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Biofuels photo by jurvetson

March 3, 2008 at 10:25 am 1 comment

Hanging Out in Aspen

I was supposed to fly out of Aspen from the TED conference today, but a heavy snow storm that started last night has resulted in the canceling of the majority of flights today. Another day in Aspen – I guess there are worse things in the world 😉 Aspen has gotten record breaking snow this winter – over 25 feet! Several TEDsters will be getting together tonight for dinner once again since we’re all stranded here. It will be fun to continue the dialogue started during the conference.

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March 2, 2008 at 3:48 pm Leave a comment

TED Reflections.1

TED is now complete which is a bit sad. I’m told re-engaging with the “real world” may prove a bit difficult. I will need to take time to process all that I’ve heard and seen. In no way can blog posts capture the environment, passion, and overall experience of TED. I am quite humbled to have had the chance to take part in this conference, and even more so to have been accepted to TED 2009. In the coming posts, I’ll offer some of my thoughts on what I’ve experienced.

NOTE: eman’s views has now moved to emansviews.com. I hope you’ll stop by. 


During the last day of TED we watched a video produced by some resident TEDsters. It is a song and video, featuring a star cast, by will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas. Inspired by Barack Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’ speech. It is an example of the world we now live in – where a group of individuals can quickly and easily help shape the public debate. I’m reminded of Majora Carter’s words from her memorable TED Talk… “By working together we can become one of those small rapidly growing groups of individuals who actually have the audacity and courage to believe we actually can change the world.”

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March 1, 2008 at 6:29 pm Leave a comment

TED Briefly

image Day Two was just as I expected – inspirational, insightful, compelling, and at times disturbing. I’m reminded of that hokey line… “I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.” Actually, it did.

With a jam packed schedule yesterday and today there is no time for a end of day summary (I do like to get some sleep.), but here are a few items.

Alisa Miller gave a great 3 minute short talk that visually depicted the aggregation of news reports across the world – content from the talk is also available here. This presentation showed how some stories, or even countries, are just not covered. Additionally, she described how our news feeds are quite redundant and we actually receive very little unique news stories, e.g. at one time there were 14,000 news items on Google News, but upon further study, these thousands of stories were only related to 24 unique news events.

Other TED Talks, have also used this unique view of the world with countries sized based on a variety of data. The maps come from a company called WorldMapper. I find these views of our world very compelling and an excellent way to visually depict worldwide data sets. WorldMapper currently has 366 of these maps available from their website.

Even on Day Two, I am still thinking about Jill Bolte Taylor’s talk on the stroke she experienced. If you can’t wait for the TED Talk, you may want to purchase her book, My Stroke of Insight, A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey available on the self-publishing site Lulu.

NOTE: eman’s views has now moved to emansviews.com. I hope you’ll stop by. 

February 29, 2008 at 8:57 am Leave a comment

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