TED Session 5: Daniel Libeskind, Kevin Surace…
The theme is INVENT.
1. Daniel Libeskind, architect
Look around — architecture is resistant to change. We applaud the well-mannered box. But to create a space that never existed is what interests me. Architecture, of all things, has to be optimistic. Need to grapple with questions — be political. It must be real, not simulated. Rawness in space over refined — demonstrates possibilities that have never been part of the vocabulart of architecture. Pointed, not blunt. My main goal is to be memorable. Without memory we are amnesiacs. Silence is good for a cemetery, but not for a city.
2. Kevin Surace, Serious Materials
EcoRock drywall. Drywall with no gypsum at all. Worked on for three years, just got off assembly line. It takes 8,000 gallons of gas to build a house — we must change everything about the materials we use.
3. Jon LaGrou, Safeplug
What if we could prevent electrical fires before they start? The main causes are faulty and misused appliances and wiring. Thomas Edison invented the circuit beaker in 1879. 83% of home fires start below circuit breaker safety limit. Need to detect at the outlet level. Plug has chip. Sensor in outlet Intelligent receptacles prevent injuries because power is always off until it senses an intelligent plug. Also enables remote shutdown and automation of appliances to save power. 186 patent claims of 414 applied for.
At Davos, wondered about the question: how would you run a country without oil? First thought ethanol, then hydrogen, then got to thought that if you could convert an entire country to electric cars, you could get to a solution.
Electric cars need to be more convenient and more affordable than today’s cars. No time for a science fair — how do you do it with the science and economics we have today? During visit to Tesla, realized the answer is separating car ownership and battery ownership — the classic “batteries not included.”
Need to charge whenever you’re stopped — so how about if everywhere we park, we have electric power — already exists in places like Scandinavia to heat cars. Today’s technology is 120 miles range for batteries — but you’d never want to get stuck. So we added a battery swap system. You don’t do it as a human being, you do it as a machine. It looks like a car wash, you’re back on the road in two minutes.
The battery is the crude oil, not the gas tank. It doesn’t burn, it consumes itself, has 2,000 lifecycles these days. We were asked in the past to pay for the whole oil well when you bought the car. We created the new consumable — electric miles. $0.08/mile will be the price when we come to market in 2010. eMiles will follow Moore’s law. 4 cents/mile by 2015, 2 cents/mile by 2020. We do not use any electron that comes from coal. Even if oil cars get to 40 MPG by 2020, that’s still $0.80/mile.
Imagined all this as a white paper, so he wrote it and handed it out to international leaders. Renault put $1.5 into building these cars, president of Israel Shimon Peres is signed on, all this while Agassi was still at SAP, Peres said he had to quit and do this.
Israel, Denmark, Australia, Hawaii, then San Francisco Bay Area. At $147 million/barrel, we spent money to buy, then economy crashed, now $40-50/barrel. What happens when the economy recovers? We’ll spend more. Estimated another 30% demand. “OPEC stimulus package: = $200/barrel. This oscillates until we lose everything that we got.
We will scale from 100,000 electric cars in 1011 to 100m cars in 2016.
Cars will be just like cell phones — you pay for the minutes that subsidize the price of the device. In Denmark we will use solar, in Israel we will use solar. Digging up for sun instead of digging down for oil.
When solving big questions, the two important numbers are zero — zero oil — and infinity — scaling this to infinity. Not little 20% growth.
Cars represent 25% of the world’s CO2 emissions. We have to go to zero before the world ends. We didn’t send a man to the moon 20% and there will be about 20% we’ll recover him. We sent a man to the moon.
If we don’t change this, we’ll lose our economy right after we lose our morality.
Big standing ovation.
5. Catherine Mohr, roboticist
About the future of surgery. Unfortunately I can’t take notes on this one — figuring out what to do with the Agassi talk for Earth2Tech. Mohr unveiled a multi-pronged robotic arm that will improve surgery.
Taking bone marrow samples to do stem cell research is hard physical work and makes bone look like swiss cheese. He developed Marrow Miner — looks like electric drill with really long needle instead of drill bit.
Already FDA approved, 3-6x more stem cells extracted improvement on normal method.
7. Robert Full
Biomimetrics. Curious about gecko toes — there are leaflike structures on their toes with terrible split ends — 2 billion nano-sized split ends. Various people are creating synthetic versions. A woman successfully used gecko stick to climb up a 60-foot wall.
Stickybot — using the adhesive and combining with gecko-like toe peeling to unstick from the wall.
Tail is not there just for show to look like a gecko — when they took off the tail, the robot gecko fell off the wall. Figured out that tail is an fifth leg for stability when necessary (like when one leg is knocked off). Tail also helps right them when falling upside-down — all is needed is the swing of the tail to right itself. Put gecko in a wind tunnel and realized it uses its tail to swim like a dolphin, and swims in the air with front legs, can even steer towards a landing target.
So bringing that back to biomutualism — they created an active tail in robot. Let’s figure these secrets out.
8. Richard Garriott, game designer
Launched into space as first second-generation U.S. astronaut last year. You can see more than you expect, can feel weather systems, tectonic plates, realize the footprint of humanity on all fertile land.