Live from TED2019

Life in the Tech Playground at TED2019

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The temi robot, a telepresence unit, home AI and media player, inhabits the living room of the Tech Playground at TED2019: Bigger Than Us, April 15–19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED

How much technology can you live with? In a series of playful exhibits at TED2019 curated by TED’s tech curator Alex Moura, you can explore how tech integrates with — and perhaps improves — your home. We start in a typical living room … or is it:

The Laughing Room: Welcome to a sitcom where you are the character! In this living room, microphones pick up your conversations — or punchlines, if you want to offer them — and route them through an AI that has been trained on hours of stand-up comedy routines. In the knowledge that machine learning is only as good as the data you train it on, the MIT team behind the project (which includes TED2019 speaker Jonny Sun) fed its AI routines from women and gender nonconforming comedians and comedians of color to eliminate sexist and racist jokes. After its algorithm determines how funny you are, you receive the appropriate amount of the canned laughter … or the silence of rejection! Test it out with the phrase “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” which is apparently hilarious every time.

temi: Meet temi — the little rolling robot who’s a personal assistant who’s also a home entertainment system. Having a robot follow you around might seem like a bit of a Black Mirror proposition, but temi is paired with Alexa voice recognition technology, so your companion can play music and podcasts for you as you walk around hands-free.

1000 Paintings in Your Pocket: Art consulting service Sugarlift want to help you find art for above the couch. Using an augmented reality app, you can browse work from emerging artists and photographers, and hold up your phone to preview how it’ll look on your own wall. Beyond the AR fabulousness, your purchase supports emerging artists and their careers.

Furniture: Rove Concepts

Next stop, the kitchen.

Brava: Brava’s countertop oven cooks with light, or to be precise, a highly controllable infrared heat. The oven expands what can be cooked in an oven — for instance, you can sear a steak (but still have it medium rare inside). At TED, you can sidle up to the Brava oven to try an 8-minute pizza.

Tech Playground

Cooking with infrared energy, the Brava oven expands your cooking possibilities — including this 8-minute pizza — at TED2019: Bigger Than Us, April 15–19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED

We move to the bedroom, which is designed for comfort and sleep enhancement … but also includes a wild new gaming accessory that might keep you up nights:

MekaMon: With multiple modes and actions, the crablike crawler MekaMon aims to be the world’s first gaming robot. Battle enemies in AR environments with MekaMon’s mobile spider-like frame.

ChiliPad: Rather than wait for the air-conditioning to kick in, the ChiliPad takes a different approach to comfortable sleep. Like a mini-waterbed, it sits on top of a mattress and regulates the temperature of your bed with water circulated by a small plug-in unit.

Somnox Sleep Robot: While it may feel a bit weird to cuddle a soft, cushiony robot, the bean-shaped Somnox Sleep Robot’s slow breathing motions are designed to gradually regulate yours, helping you to relax.

AstroReality: AstroReality bring specially designed notebooks to life through augmented reality, so you can explore the solar system in 3D using your own digital device. Check out the Martian glaciers …

Tech Playground bedroom at TED2019

The bedroom of our Tech Playground is packed with sleep helpers, including a cooling mattress pad and a huggable robot that helps you relax and breathe. But! The floor is covered with robot spiders! Sleep tight! We’re at TED2019: Bigger Than Us. April 15–19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED

DigiDoug: Ever wake up from a bizarrely vivid dream that leaves you wondering what’s real and what’s not? Now you can experience that in your waking life by talking with DigiDoug, a live 3D digital manifestation of TED2019 speaker Doug Roble!

Don a VR headset and you’ll find yourself on a virtual TED stage with a 3D version of Roble. The difference between this and any other VR? Created with data gathered through a year of intense video recording, Roble’s digital self is mirroring his own actions in real time. Tucked away behind our Tech Playground bedroom, the actual Roble is wearing the kind of full body motion capture suit actors usually use for visual effects, and responding to you in… well, digital person.

Don’t look down though. As you haven’t put in the same level of data-intensive preparation, in DigiDoug’s universe you are simply a disembodied generic floating head.

DigiDoug at TED2019

Chatting with DigiDoug at TED2019: Bigger Than Us. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED