EU StudentsStudy in Barcelona

TEDxBarcelona Live – MBA Student Thomas Miessen on The Future You

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There were 200 highly coveted tickets to the live stream of TED’s Vancouver event, held at the Mobile World Centre in the heart of Barcelona. My MBA colleagues and I were lucky to snap up some of them.

TED or Technology, Entertainment, Design is a media organization that invites experts and icons from around the world to talk about cutting-edge subjects such as the environment, culture and innovation.


At this particular event, there was a total of 22 speakers. Some orbited the fields of mind and meaning – discussing neuroscience and alternate ways of thinking. Others, about the planet and protection, towards a more sustainable future. And finally, the talk conexión y sentido was held completely in Spanish.

The excitement in the room elevated when Al Gore was interviewed by Chris Anderson. Live on stage, he spoke about a still inconvenient truth. He expounded a few innovative ideas on reducing global warming and highlighted current governmental actions to accelerate the sustainability revolution – like the remainder of the U.S.A. as a part of the Paris Agreement. The main issue Al Gore still sees is the ongoing irresponsible exhaust of ‘110 million tons of manmade pollution’ every day in our atmosphere.

In between talks, participants had the opportunity to mingle, network and exchange ideas. The buzzing atmosphere in the conference-like setup was just perfect to discuss the important issues brought up in the talks.

Virtual reality (VR)

My MBA colleagues and I used this event to discuss VR and its potentially massive impact on our lives in the near future. Considering our different backgrounds – the Netherlands, Scotland, Morocco, Pakistan and Germany – it was still evident that we all agreed that this technology will revolutionize the world we live in, much like the iPhone did.

Virtual reality is already implemented in various business segments; take medicine, retail and the automotive industry for example. Just imagine the power and influence of this VR innovation in your everyday life. The distance between businesses and customers will no longer be a problem. In addition to this, the customer experiences will be incredibly enhanced and whole business models will change.

Trying the latest in VR

Particularly interesting for me were the exhibits throughout the building. These really offered insight into innovative products and how virtual and augmented reality could influence our lives in the future. Sitting in a spinning chair, surrounded by a thin white textile wall, I took on the challenge of a virtual escape room. Competing against seven other players, the goal was to escape a virtual computer lab. By fulfilling different tasks you would eventually get to an exit door. There you had to enter a digital code in order to finally get out. All escape room adventurers cannot exceed the time limit of ten minutes, otherwise, the bomb will blow up.

Not yet dizzy from the dive into a different reality, I went on to the next floor. Here, there were more innovative gadgets and demonstrations. Mike, a Red Bull associate gave me some insight into the next level 360° action camera he used to shoot footage of a shark diving experience. With the help of the Microsoft HoloLens glasses, it almost felt like I could touch some of the oldest species left on this planet. For the woman next to me, it was slightly too real. She let out a sharp scream and took off her VR glasses.

I also got to experience the HTC Vive for the first time. With Google’s latest application Tilt Brush, you use dynamic brushes to paint and draw in a VR 3D space. The two stick-like devices let you paint any figure straight into the air around you. And boy, what an incredible innovation that was! The ability to walk around and gaze upon your masterpiece from different perspectives brings interaction to a whole new level. It was almost a postmodern, out-of-body experience.

Until next time

The photo booth and the snacks and drinks helped the buzzing atmosphere and encouraged participants to think about the future, while the speakers provided insight into what is necessary for a sustainable present. All in all, I am more than glad to have been invited. I’d be honored to take part in the next TEDx Live event!

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