Thursday, January 30, 2014

Brief View Of DesignCon And XPRIZE

I finally attended a conference that was completely incomprehensible to me.  I dropped in on DesignCon 2014 primarily to check out the keynote address from the XPRIZE Foundation.  I like that XPRIZE is reaching out beyond their space interests to incentivize exponential changes in the environment and transportation.  Go for it, folks.

The XPRIZE talk definitely addressed the proper crowd.  These electrical engineers and computer programmers held very technical seminars, all of which were over my head.  I try to attend geek conferences to find topics the finance sector will find attractive but I just could not fathom anything discussed here.

I did accomplish one thing while I was here yesterday.  The conference people gave out these adhesive photo mosaic pieces we were supposed to stick to a wall by the numbers.  I stuck mine in place and I could already see the finished photo taking shape . . . a large image of Darth Vader constructed from computer board pieces.  Brilliant.  The ultimate nerd images dominate these shows.  

The last time I saw the XPRIZE people was at the Maker Faire Bay Area 2013, and that was the first time I noticed the emerging strength of art and design thinking as a force in STEM education.  I was skeptical at first about diluting STEM into STEAM but it's probably a worthwhile addition if it teaches engineers to think outside the box.

I won't return for future design events because they're intended for technical specialists.  Generalists can enjoy the Maker Faire and experiment with technology building blocks the technicians assemble.  I wish I had majored in engineering as an undergrad instead of business.  I probably would have invented faster-than-light speed engines by now because I'm such a genius.