Volunteers Stacy Lewis, left, and her daughter, Sabine Veach, 13, deconstruct a VCR during a demonstration by the Grange Junior Makers of Ann Arbor at the TEDxDetroit conference. (Photos by Max Ortiz / The Detroit News)
An estimated 1,000 budding entrepreneurs, artists, community organizers and others with big aspirations to save the world in their own ways attended the 2013 TEDxDetroit gathering at Cobo Center Wednesday.
They heard nearly 50 leaders with backgrounds in software development, philanthropy and education give their pitches on what it will take to turn around Metro Detroit.
Started in 2009 as a satellite of TED, a national nonprofit in which entrepreneurs drawn to technology, entertainment and design — TED — TEDxDetroit was among the first localized conferences to launch in the world. Today, more than approximately 7,000 local TEDx programs are held across the globe.
Rick Sheridan, a Mount Clemens native and CEO of Ann Arbor-based software development company Menlo Innovcation, returns to TEDxDetroit annually to soak up the positive energy.
“When talking about joining this effort, there was a sense that Detroit’s a tale of two cities,” Sheridan said.
“This group of people is not blind to the issues, but we’re going to find things here that are working that was can use and leave the things that are not working.”
The TEDxDetroit laboratory featured a smorgasbord of innovators who displayed their creative sides. Piko Piko Detroit!, an Ann Arbor-based group of 20-somethings showed off neon-colored modified Nintendo Gameboys, which they customized to access the game system’s retro sound bites. Teens who attend the Detroit Public Library’s main branch in Midtown built robots for a “robot petting zoo.” And Brandon Christopher, founder of the pop-up gallery, CanvasXDetroit, had brightly colored canvases on display, with the Detroit River serving as a backdrop.