TEDx 101


TED, the acronym for Technology, Entertainment, Design, is an LLC that was founded in 1984 and presents free talks online, under the slogan “ideas worth spreading”.

TED has initially focused on technology, because its founders have started their business in Silicon Valley, but later on it has expanded its focus, including talks that address a broad variety of topics.

The main TED conference is held at the Vancouver Convention Centre each year. People can view about 3,000 TED talks on the official TED website.

TEDx is the independent, community-based version of the larger TED. It is supported by a group of volunteers, who want to create TED-like events in their communities.

Often times, TEDx events include a mixture of live presentations and several TED talks. It’s a guaranteed way of sparking insightful conversations, and then helping professionals connect at a local level.

TEDx events are independent, under a free license granted by TED. Event types fall into one of these categories:

  1. Standard events. These are general-purpose events, which give their organizers the possibility of addressing a broad range of subjects. It’s the most common TEDx event.
  2. University events. These are TEDx talks hosted by universities, and are organized by the university administration staff, teachers and students. These talks allow universities to share their research and ideas within their communities.
  3. Youth events. These TEDx talks are either organized by or addressed to kids. If you’ve ever wanted to organize a fun children’s conference, a youth event may be the perfect solution.
  4. ED events. This is the perfect solution for conferences where teachers and students meet to discuss the future of education.
  5. Salon events. These weekly or monthly events help keep the local community engaged, while waiting for the next major TEDx event. Often times, people attending these meetings watch TED talks that focus on a single subject, and then discuss them.
  6. TEDxLive events. These events center around the official, annual TED conference. This way, the official conference is able to have a significantly bigger impact, reaching a huge audience.
  7. TEDxWomen events. These events are organized close to the TEDWomen conference date, and consist of inspiring TEDWomen talks.
  8. Business events. These types of events help energize company culture, fostering new ideas and innovation throughout companies.
  9. Internal events. Ever wanted to organize an event for your nonprofit organization, government entity or hospital? If the answer is affirmative, a TEDx internal event is the perfect solution.
  10. Library events. These events are hosted at a local library. Organizers are instructed to choose people who are able to contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way.
  11. Level 2 events. These events can only be organized by people who have been in the program for at least two years. Also, the organizer should have been the host for at least two TEDx events, with over 100 attendees each. More information about Level 2 events can be found here.

Three TED Talks that Showcase Innovative Technologies


The next step in nanotechnology by George Tulevski

People in the IT industry have learned to cherish Moore’s law. According to it, the number of transistors that can be crammed into an integrated circuit (IC) doubles every two years. And this law has worked great for more than five decades, but now it is close to reaching its limits. We are now at a stage when the current technologies don’t allow IC components to get much smaller.

This means that higher CPU speeds may be out of our reach in the future. It’s a pessimistic scenario, but fortunately, Dr. George Tulevski, a researcher who has studied the little-known world of nanomaterials, has some good news to share.

The IBM researcher has managed to “train” billions of carbon nanotubes, making them group together into circuit elements. Is this the solution for the next generation of high density integrated circuits? Let’s find out!


The Thrilling Potential of the SixthSense Technology by Pranav Mistry

Pranav Mistry, the author of this talk, is a former UX Researcher with Microsoft, and the Global Vice President of Research at Samsung. He is the author of several inventions, including Mouseless, an invisible computer mouse.

Can we turn the Internet into a sixth human sense? Pranav tries to answer this question. And it does it in a convincing way, showing a system that utilizes a camera which is coupled to a tiny projector.

This way, we can use a computer wherever we go, because the projector replaces the computer screen, projecting the image on almost any surface.

It’s an upgraded version of the current augmented reality technology, if you will. The system makes use of a gesture-based interface, which adds digital information to the world around us.


Forget Wi-Fi. Meet the new Li-Fi Internet by Harald Haas

Wi-Fi has become an important part of our lives. And many of us simply couldn’t live without it! But Wi-Fi has several problems. You can’t broadcast signal over long distances, for example. Some people have tried to fix this by designing Wi-Fi antennas that can have a gain of up to 24 dBi. That’s an approximate signal strength increase of 19 dBi, or 891% in comparison with what you’d get from a standard, 5 dBi antenna.

But what can you do if you’d want the Wi-Fi signal to travel much farther? How can we help people in developing countries get access to the Internet, for example?

According to a UN report, more than four billion people in the world live without having Internet access. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi networks can’t be used in less developed countries – not without investing a lot of money into infrastructure. And even if we managed to build the needed infrastructure soon enough, the energy amount that would be needed to run them would be huge. So, how do we fix all these problems?

Harald Haas, a German Professor of Mobile Communications at the University of Edinburgh, believes that he has found a solution, utilizing off-the-shelf LEDs and regular solar cells to transmit data using light.

And the best part is that all the needed power is produced using solar light, so the idea has a lot of potential. Discover all the details by watching his seven-minute TED talk below.