Innovation, inspiration, ideas

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SVSU students on Friday, Sept. 30, gathered in Curtiss Hall to experience new ideas in technology, entertainment and design.

Brittany Lentz, a fifth-year marketing major, is the president of the TEDx chapter at SVSU, and for the past year, she’s been organizing this event.

“This past year, I’ve grown to really love the TEDx atmosphere,” Lentz said. “I love what it means – ideas worth spreading.”

Speakers for the night included Edad Inbar, professor Brian Thomas, Glenn Daniels II, Benjamin Champagne, and Saginaw County Circuit Judge Darnell Jackson. The leaders of the TEDxSVSU chapter include professor George Corser, Lentz, Kylie Wojciechowski and Bradley Chippi.

Lentz’s original interest in TEDx was the real-world experience that it provided and the marketing and social media aspect was educational and applicable to her career goals.

“I think it’s important to watch many different categories and topics,” said Rayshawn Williams, a fourth-year exercise science major. “I personally want to learn everything. I’m interested in all types of ideas. I’m not just a one-dimensional person.”

Kelley Gray, project manager for Revision Virtual Reality, had a VR exhibit.

Passionate about virtual reality, Gray believes that there are many applications for education.

“I think education is one of the strongest places for virtual reality to really flourish, and it will create a new excitement that some subjects might not have already,” said Gray.

In addition, virtual reality could have a positive impact on eyesight.

“Part of what makes it so unique is the way the lenses are set up,” Gray said. “They allow your eyes to focus on infinity, which is the most comfortable place for your eyes to be. If you have a screen that’s a few feet away from your face, your eyes are constantly trying to refocus on that object that’s not too far away from you.”

Bradley Chippi, a third-year computer science major, ran a different exhibit and is familiar with Bitcoin, a payment system.

“There are people who forked Bitcoin and made their own digital currency,” Chippi said. “There’s Blackcoin, Light coin, a new currency called Theorem. TEDx is all about technology and new ideas worth spreading. Bitcoin is a new idea worth spreading.”

The first speaker was Elad Inbar, CEO of RobotLAB.

His talk “Can Robots help students pass the patience test?” focused on retaining information, and Inbar’s solution to help more students was robo-centric.

To illustrate the quadratic formula, a visual showed a robotic helicopter moving vertically.

When the helicopter was farther up, the beam of light coming from the bottom grew bigger, and when the robot moved down, the beam of light grew smaller.

When the height of a triangle was smaller, so was the slope of the sides.

Inbar said that everything taught to students could be brought to life visually.

“Take everything off the words and the books and let the students put their hands on it and visualize it, play and understand by walking with it,” Inbar said. “What I focus on is covering the core subjects, what everyone needs to know in order to succeed in life: math, reading, writing-subjects that are at the core of everything we do. That’s what I’m really trying to bring to life. That’s my personal passion. I don’t think we should fail to engage our students.”

Brian Thomas, an associate professor of sociology and exhibitor at TEDx, spoke on ultramarathoning.

“Races themselves get far too much credit,” he said. “In most athlete movies, the race is the climax. Training is reduced to a montage of clips with inspiring background music. In reality, a 100-mile race requires 1,000 miles of training.”

Thomas spoke of four ultramarathoning principles that were helpful.

The first was to keep moving forward. If your body cannot physically keep running in a race, you jog, or walk, or crawl.

The second was the rule of 10 percent, which meant that when preparing for a race, you should never increase your training by more than 10 percent.

Thirdly, you need people to help you through. When a runner nears the end of the race, he can forget about his need for water and food afterwards, so assistance is essential.

Finally, pay attention to the pain.

Muscles break down and grow back stronger time and again. There is a similar pattern of pain and growth in loss.

Darnell Jackson, a Saginaw County circuit court judge, closed out the night with this question: “What carbon footprint are you leaving behind?”

“Your actions leave an invisible footprint upon the earth,” he said. “What legacy are you leaving?”
Legacy is about the relationships you form.

Jackson recounted how a young man approached him at a gas station and said he had gone to prison years before under Jackson’s jurisdiction.

The sentence was shorter than it could have been, and the man said he was grateful not only for that, but also for the hope that Jackson gave him.

“I, for one, want my children and grandchildren to be thankful for the things I’ve done,” Jackson said. “Regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or economic status, we all leave a carbon footprint on this earth. We all leave a legacy as well.”

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