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X Marks the Spot: A TEDx event in an ancient Greek amphitheater

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The scene at TEDxKalamata, held in an amphitheater that dates back to 369 B.C.

The venue that housed TEDxKalamata certainly had some history: held in an ancient amphitheater, this was the first TEDx event in an archaeological site. To be specific, the location was an ancient outdoor ekklesiasterion (assembly hall) in Messene, Greece, that has been used for public gatherings since 369 B.C. At TEDxKalamata, 18 speakers and 50 volunteers gathered in this space to not only channel the past, but to think deeply about the future with the theme “A Brave New World.”

TEDx events have been held on the Great Wall of China, in a replica of the Titanic, on Mount Everest and in a treehouse. This is the incredible diversity of the TEDx ecosystem, which includes dozens of events held across the globe each week. From these events, the TEDx team chooses four favorite talks each week, highlighting just a few of the enlightening speakers from the global community. Below, listen to this week’s talks — on topics ranging from wearable trash to reading gear for the blind.

Go analogue: Matthew DuPlessie at TEDxBoston
Matthew DuPlessie challenges the concept of “interactive” by showing that it doesn’t have to always mean “on a screen.” At TEDxBoston, he talks about immersive narrative and game experiences that you actually have to touch and move around in. Through them, perhaps without even realizing it, you might learn something. (Filmed at TEDxBoston)

Handbags made from trash? Katell Gélébart at TEDxHamburg
One man’s trash is Katell Gélébart’s handbag. At TEDxHamburg, she shares examples of her truly wearable, funky designs made by repurposing waste materials like army surplus blankets, mailbags and even telephone cords. (Filmed at TEDxHamburg )

Touch, engineered: Allison Okamura at TEDxStanford
Robots are now widely used in surgical procedures, but they are still not autonomous. Human surgeons must operate them, and humans can do a better job of this if they get a sense of touch feedback, says robotics researcher Allison Okamura. At TEDxStanford, she explains how engineers are developing ways for surgeons to feel what a robot is doing — technology that will greatly improve dexterity and accuracy in surgery.

How to read when you’re blind: Ron McCallum at TEDxSydney
Ron McCallum was born blind. Regardless, he managed to fall in love with reading. In this funny and heartfelt talk, he tours the history of reading gear for the blind and shows how each new design has impacted his life. (Filmed at TEDxSydney)

And below, some great reads on the TEDx Blog:

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A wider shot of the TEDxKalamata venue.

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And a look at the event stage, lit up at night, with the mountains in the background.