Spreading the Word

TEDYouth challenges New York City students to think outside the box

Nov 30, 2012 | By TFK Kid Reporter Zachary J. Lewis
TED CONFERENCE

Are inspiring ideas the way to spark creativity  around the world?  TED thinks so.  TED is a nonprofit group that is dedicated to “ideas worth spreading.” On November 17, the group held its second annual TEDYouth event in New York City. The sold out event is one of more than 100 TEDxYouthDay events held worldwide.

This year’s TEDYouth event challenged students to study new ideas and think about old ones in new ways. Four hundred New York City high school students were chosen by TED to attend the event for free. More than 20 speakers shared their expertise with young audience members. The speakers included scientists, designers, technologists, explorers, artists, performers and many more. Each speaker gave a 15-minute presentation. They talked about topics such as robotics, music, marine biology, haptics (communicating by touch), and even tips on being polite to make a good impression!  

Music producer Young Guru spoke at the event. He has worked on 10 albums by the artist Jay-Z and became his official DJ in 2010. Guru spoke to the audience about the ownership of ideas and how they are transferred between people. He gave advice to kids who want to one day be in the music business.“I would say go and get into [music] now,” he told TFK. “ Study what part of music you want to be in. There are so many different jobs.”

Professor Katherine Kuchenbecker spoke to the audience about creating texture for virtual objects.
TED CONFERENCE
Professor Katherine Kuchenbecker spoke to the audience about creating texture for virtual objects.

University of Pennsylvania Professor Katherine Kuchenbecker put a special touch on the day’s events. She studies and builds robotic systems that allow you to feel graphics on digital screens. The technology allows a user to feel a virtual object as if it were really there. Dentistry students use the innovation to learn how to detect cavities. Medical students use it to learn how  the inside of a human body should feel. Kuchenbecker talked about her inspiration for the idea. “I have always been really drawn to technology that people directly interact with,” she told TFK. “And I thought it was cool if you could let people touch them[graphics], and physically experience them.”

Eighth grader August Trollback was one of the students chosen to attend the event. He says TED helped give him a head start on his dream of becoming a motion graphic artist. The group used his design for the opening of the event.  “I have always been interested in motion graphics,” he told TFK. “TED gave me a great opportunity.”