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TEDxGR: Expand Your View

Posted May 30, 2012 in Events

On May 10, the second annual TEDxGrandRapids was held at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, just two blocks from Kendall. Seven hundred audience members from a diverse cross-section of disciplines heard speakers from around the world share their best, world-changing ideas.

“What now?” the central theme of this year’s TEDxGrandRapids event, explored the link between new perspectives and innovation – when information is presented with additional dimension.

During two breaks in the presentations, attendees grabbed a bit of spring sunshine and strolled down to Kendall to take a look at the TEDxLabs, designed to spark small-group discussions with opportunities for participants to connect and share through interactive experiences.

Attendees were met at the door with this message: “Extraordinary things are happening in the evolving three-dimensional landscape that surrounds us, blurring the lines between physical and virtual. What now? We invite you to take your view, and let it expand.”

Material Now: Kendall’s Material ConneXion library was moved into Gallery 114, where I met Tiffany Vasilchik, Material ConneXion Vice President of Business Development, who, with Dr. Andrew Dent, were in Grand Rapids for the event. We watched people touch, stretch, sniff and discuss the samples on hand, and use the touch-screen to explore the full materials library, “I can always tell whether someone in the library is a scientist or a designer,” she told me. “Designers touch the samples, but scientists always smell them.”

Fabricate Now: The Digital Fabrication Lab, usually located on the 4th floor, was moved to the Kendall Gallery, where everyone had a chance to observe three-dimensional printing technology, including 3-D printers in action and a curated showcase of art and design objects created using new 3-D printing technologies, under the direction of Metals/Jewelry Chair Phil Renato and students. “The digital fabrication lab presents a number of technologies and artifacts centered around three-dimensional production of digital art and design. We have a number of different 3D scanners to capture data, 3D printers to build objects out plastic, a LASER cutter to mark and cut objects out of various materials, and other devices which facilitate 3D models and objects.”

One of the most fascinating uses of 3-D printing technologies was Regeneration Now in which live samples of human tissues were created by bio-plotting technology and computer aided tissue engineering.


An interesting contrast in how we see things was offered in Perspective Now: where 19th Century 3-D Stereoscopic imagery from the collection of the Grand Rapids Public Museum stood side-by-side with holographic technology from a form of digital holographic prints created from a variety of 3D digital computer data, including Computer Aided Design (CAD) models, laser scans, and stereo satellite imagery.

Assistant Professor and Furniture Program Chair Gayle DeBruyn was instrumental in bringing TEDxGR to Kendall. "It has been my great pleasure to work on the Leadership Team for TEDx Grand Rapids. This community of creative professionals is truly committed to bringing meaningful dialogue to enrich Grand Rapids and West Michigan. Kendall, through TEDxLabs, brought the third dimension to the day, connecting attendees to physical examples of advancing technologies in 3D printing, material science, holograms, and touch screens. Kendall brings a powerful connection to the core content of Technology Entertainment and Design.”

Congratulations to the Kendall community, faculty, staff, alumni and students whose hard work and cheerful attitudes showed Kendall in its best light. And a special nod to the GRCC Culinary Institute and their exquisite lunch, featuring locally sourced foods and a fully compostable waste stream!

To view video of all speakers at TedxGrand Rapids, go to www.tedxgrandrapids.org

~ Pamela Patton, Blogger

~ Matthew Gubancsik, Photographer


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