This weekend saw the first ever TEDx event held in Salford and we were fortunate enough to get our hands on the last tickets. Having never been to a TEDx event before we weren’t sure what to expect but it turned out to be a day full of inspiring and uplifting talks on a whole range of topics by incredibly knowledgeable speakers. From rock stars and explorers to futurologists, CERN scientists and even an astronaut, the event really did have a wide variety of interesting speakers!
The first talk by Amnesty International’s Irene Khan was the hardest hitting. She spoke about human rights in other countries, in particular, women’s rights (or rather the lack of). It was eye opening and a stark reminder of how lucky we are. It was also uplifting to hear of how Irene’s work is making a positive change to many women’s lives.
The next two talks were both by explorers. Edward Stafford was the first person to walk the entire length of the Amazon river, you may have seen the TV documentary of his journey ‘Walking the Amazon’. His talk was incredibly engaging and entertaining. Unlike Ed who employs locals along his journey to accompany him which helps his safety, the following speaker, Benedict Allen, conducts all his explorations alone. Placing his trust in tribes he meets has both been a life saver and nearly resulted in his death on several occasions.
The futurist Anne Lise Kjaer (shown in the photo below) enlightened us into how the world will be more women-dominated in the future and how we will change from the current ‘me’ economy to a ‘we’ economy. The date on her slides showed 2020+ but we believe it will take much longer than this. Anne described an exciting prototype mirror being built right now that will enable self-diagnosis of things like skin, weight, dental and medical problems! As specialists in touchscreen interface design, we’re really excited about new technology developments such as this. These are the kinds of products we adore designing and usability testing – touchscreens will rule the future! In the meantime we hope the self diagnosis mirror doesn’t take too long to reach the market as we reeeeaaaally want one!
Trevor Cox is a sound scientist. His aim was to make us more aware of sounds in our everyday lives. Often sounds aren’t something we pay much attention to, but he played audio of a clap being made in different environments and there was a huge difference between the sounds with some not resembling a clap sound at all. We never realised there was such a large impact from the environment on the sound we actually hear.
Two musicians spoke at the event. Tom Hingley from Inspiral carpets (who’s roadie used to be Noel Gallagher!) talked about copyright in the music industry and John Robb (pictured below) who used to be in the punk band Goldblade captured us all with his very honest talk. He had no slides and no notes yet his relaxed style and his stories of the rock and roll days had everyone rooted to their seats and talking about it over lunch!
A couple of scientists from CERN explained their research on neutrinos. Neutrinos are the smallest particles to exist, they travel faster than the speed of the light, we have them inside every one of us and they can penetrate a block of lead 1 light year thick! Wow!
Well we are excited that we now have! Possibly the highlight of the event was Ronald Garan, a NASA astronaut all the way from Texas. He shared with us beautiful videos taken from space and tales from his journeys into space.
Other speakers at the event included Julie Summers (author and broadcaster) and Heather Witney (plant biologist) – did you know there is a plant that mimics rotting meat through it’s appearance and smell? it really is incredible how clever plants can be. We had to leave before the last few speakers came on but we managed to catch Dawn Gibbins (MBE and founder of Flowcrete) talk live online which made us wish we could have stayed! She had so much energy and passion and at the age of 50 is a true inspiration to women young and old. She had a great attitude to business.
Overall the day was full of enthusiasm, positive energy and the next day I awoke full of inspiration with lots of new ideas for Keepitusable. Keep an eye out for TEDx events near you. They are awesome!