TedXGriffithUniversity kicks off on the Coast

Professor Wendy Moyle

“When it comes to robots, people see them as good or bad. There is no in-between,” says Professor Wendy Moyle from Griffith’s Social Robotics Lab.

The world-leading dementia researcher is convinced that robots are good, especially for providing quality of life for dementia patients, some respite for their carers and a means for society to better cope with its ageing population.

Robotics as part of a treatment strategy for dementia will be just one of the topics on the agenda at tomorrow’s TEDxGriffithUniversity.

Hotly anticipated

A hotly anticipated event to be held on Wednesday 18 February at Griffith’s Gold Coast Campus, TEDxGriffithUniversity is a local, self-organised event that will bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organised events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organised TED event.

The robotics technology is improving all the time, evidenced by the world-first development of a companion robot called Paro — a lifelike baby harp seal that is providing comfort and companionship to dementia patients as part of a three year trial. 220 patients have so far been introduced to Paro and the results are extremely promising.

“People in nursing homes are averaging only 28 minutes of face-to-face contact in a 24 hour period,” says Professor Moyle, who is also part of Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ).

“This is about providing better quality of life for dementia patients who are responding positively to the pet therapy by the robots, recognising that we don’t have enough human contact for basic social interaction to go around the growing number of patients.

“Really we are at a time and a place where it is society’s acceptance of robots that will become more functional and more human as the technology evolves.”

Meanwhile TedXGriffithUniversity will also hear from Griffith Business graduate and space astronaut Tim Gibson, award winning country music starJared Porter, world-leading organic chemist and Nobel Prize contenderSan Thang,Gold Coast property development visionarySoheil Abedianand leading scientistProfessor Mark von Itzstein, from Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics.

“This is Griffith’s first foray into the world of Ted and we have a truly wonderful collection of interesting people from Griffith, the Gold Coast and internationally,” says Professor Ned Pankhurst, Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of Gold Coast Campus. “This is a very proud partnership to be involved in and for those who cannot make it, we have excellent live streaming to take advantage of.

“The theme of TEDxGriffithUniversity – this great showcase of knowledge – is ‘knowledge is…’ and it really is up to each one of us to finish that sentence and position the Gold Coast as a true university city.”

For information on live streaming at each of our campuses, Nathan, Mt Gravatt, South Bank and Logan, please visitwww.tedxgriffithuniversity.com

TED on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TEDTalks, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TED.