TEDx puts Griffith on world stage

Griffith University has staged the spectacularly successful TEDxGriffithUniversity at its Gold Campus.

The event, which showcased the extraordinary achievements of a range of thinkers, business leaders, scientists and adventurers, was based on the theme ‘Knowledge is…”

Knowledge is…

“This was Griffith’s first foray into the world of TED and a truly wonderful collection of interesting people from Griffith, the Gold Coast and internationally came to share their knowledge,” said Professor Ned Pankhurst, Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of Gold Coast Campus.

“We are very proud to have been involved in this partnership with TEDx, in which live speakers combined with TED Talks videos to spark deep discussion and connection.”

The future of social robotics

Professor Wendy Moyle,from Griffith’s Social Robotics Lab, is a world-leading dementia researcher. Professor Moyle, assisted by an interactive “pet” seal, explained how robots are providinganimproved quality of life for dementia patients, and shaping the future direction of managing an increasingly ageing society.

Professor Wendy Moyle and an interactive seal robot being used to improve life for dementia patients.
Professor Wendy Moyle and an interactive seal robot being used to improve life for dementia patients.

“People in nursing homes are averaging only 28 minutes of face-to-face contact in a 24-hour period,” said Professor Moyle, who is also part of Griffith’sMenzies 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, and 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.”

Another TedXGriffithUniversity presenter was Griffith Business School graduate and astronaut Tim Gibson, who brought his story of how never giving up and extraordinary luck have changed his life. Tim had always wanted to be a pilot for the Australian Defence Force but despite passing all of the other military tests, his long-sightedness prevented him from achieving this dream. Intensive physical preparation for the RAAF selection process, however, helped him win an out-of-this-world competition, so Tim is now preparing to go into space as Australia’s youngest astronaut.

The courage to take a risk

World-leading organic chemist and Nobel Prize contender Dr San Thang shared his story of how having the courage to take a risk can change everything. The former refugee, who fled Vietnam by boat, explained how determination helped him become a global leader in his field of plastics and polymers.

The TEDx talk byProfessor Mark von Itzstein, Director of Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics,explained how sugars are vital for our cells to function and may hold the key to beating some of the world’s most debilitating diseases.

Other speakers included renowned shark researcher Sarah Richmond, and lawyerChris Eigeland who founded The Schoolbag, a not-for-profit organisation that has distributed thousands of primary education supply kits to Haiti, South Africa and Vietnam.

A video recording ofall the extraordinary speakers who presented at theGriffith TEDx event will be available online next week at TEDxGriffithUniversity.