Fun fact: I first met Augmania CEO Rania Reda during her TED talk at my alma mater!
The passion from Rania, other speakers, and the organizing TED team that night was palpable. A year later, it inspired me to join the TED community myself. Without a doubt, the experience remains among the closest to my heart throughout my young career.
So as a former TEDster myself, allow me to elaborate on what makes TED and TED talks so reputable. TED as an organization is founded on a simple yet wonderful principle: ideas worth spreading. Duly, audiences have come to expect TED talks to provide them with novel, provocative, well-researched, and well-presented ideas.
They know that a TED stage is the last place on Earth to find money scams or cheesy acts. The cherry on top? TED talks generally are not allowed to last over 18 minutes. TED curator Chris Anderson (bless his benevolent heart) believes that’s the most a speaker can hold attention of viewers.
Eventually, the success of the TED formula gave rise to a monumental cascade with the creation of TEDx events. TEDx events are TED-licensed yet independently organized. That is, TED gifted its stage to thousands of communities to share their own ideas. When I joined my university’s TEDx, I saw that it didn’t matter how far we were from TED’s headquarters. ‘Ideas worth spreading’ was still at the core of literally everything we did.
The TED acronym stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. The TED stage has seen a who’s who of tech pioneers showcase their new tech to the masses. As one of the world’s most impactful technologies, Augmented Reality is unsurprisingly featured in TED talks aplenty.
Now without further ado, let’s take a look at the top AR ideas worth spreading:
1- The dawn of the age of holograms | Alex Kipman
Alex Kipman, a tech aficionado and a key Microsoft player, has been growing frustrated with today’s tech. He believes that the most popular technologies today only serve to trap us inside pixels. Ultimately, Kipman longs for a day when humans are set free from devices and allowed to interact once again.
In his TED talk, Kipman demos the Microsoft Hololens. He goes on to explain how its premise of projecting holograms is the fitting technology for our non-binary universe. The target Kipman has in mind is a technology that “understands humans” rather than limiting them. To achieve that, he attempts to view our world from the perspective of a machine.
I may have spoiled a bit his Ted talk for you, but I honestly don’t feel guilty. That’s because there’s still a lot more amusement in this mighty interesting visually stunning talk.
2- Augmented Creativity | Bob Sumner
At first, this TED talk sounds like an introduction to what AR is before quickly taking an intriguing turn. Bob Sumner is an animation and gaming expert. He’s the Associate Director of Disney Research Zurich. His TED talk examines how AR potentiates creative output.
Specifically, he sheds light on that topic due to worries about the increasing passiveness of children. The kids may not be to blame, but it’s still an issue that Sumner wishes to act upon. Moving on, the TED talk progresses as Sumner starts showing many demos of his Augmented Creativity children games. These games encourage users to engage in many activities from painting to composing music.
3- Chris Kluwe | How augmented reality will change sports … and build empathy
This TED talk from former NFL player Chris Kluwe tackles the use of AR in sports. He starts with the use of technology in general in copying sports experiences. After going through GoPro 360 videos and VR, he gets to the edge AR offers in that aspect. AR will more than just let fans and coaches see what a player is seeing. It will transform how American football as a whole is played.
Footballers will wear AR-enabled helmets. These helmets overlay important data over players’ field of vision. This data, obtained from cameras monitoring stadiums, helmet sensors, and accelerometers, will allow players to strategize better mid-game. Thus, a purely athletic contest turns to one where players must know how to use data to their advantage.
4- How augmented reality could change the future of surgery | Nadine Hachach-Haram
Surgeon Nadine Hachach-Haram uses her TED talk to reflect on the use of AR in a noble cause. She reports that 5 billion people don’t have access to surgeries. When these people need to undergo surgeries, they have to travel elsewhere. Needless to say, that’s a costly move. That’s especially true when you consider that a majority of these patients live in economically compromised areas.
Dr. Nadine has an AR solution for this medical crisis. Instead of making patients’ surgery travels more affordable, she wants to train unexperienced surgeons in the patients’ countries. That’s why she has come up with what she called remote surgery. Essentially, it allows renowned surgeons to teach young surgeons good surgery practice using AR headsets. In her TED talk, Dr. Nadine showed many examples of the project’s success in different countries.
5- Marco Tempest | The Augmented Reality of Techno-Magic
I may start by digressing a bit here. But if you’ve never seen Marco Tempest before, get ready to meet one of Earth’s most extraordinary people. Super impressively, Tempest has a habit for finding intersections between his very different passions. His first passion as a child was magic, but as he grew older he fell in love with technology. Today he calls himself the technology magician and he has worked on loads of projects to validate that name.
Tempest was one of the first speakers to bring AR to the TED stage. In this incredibly entertaining TED talk, Tempest uses AR as a modern platform for magic. It’s a reminder that while AR sure can solve our problems, it can also put smiles on people’s faces. As for Marco, I’ll have you know that he recently connected his passion for space to tech. By working with NASA. Yep, NASA. I would say ‘goals’, but that would still be an understatement.