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The 10 coolest things that have happened at TEDActive

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TEDActive is like TED, only with a few buttons loosened and its hair let down. An annual simulcast of the TED conference held two hours away in Palm Springs, California, TEDActive is for those who treasure ideas and want to immerse themselves in them. Last year, TEDActive participants journeyed to Joshua Tree to take sound baths, went on a bike tour of local vintage stores on a scavenger hunt and gave their own short TED talks during an open-to-anyone event fittingly called TEDYou.

As registration for TEDActive 2013 begins, with the theme “The Young, The Wise, The Undiscovered,” we thought we’d take a look back at some of the great moments from TEDActives past. Below, 10 highlights.

Artist Kiehl Johnson taught the incredible “Everyone’s an Architect” workshop at TEDActive 2012, but attendees participating in the Urbanization Project took the workshop one step further and rigged LED lights into it. One attendee’s kinetic-energy-collecting invention was a great demonstration of how urban spaces can be more energy-efficient.

Who doesn’t love a trampoline? Because TEDActive 2012 was in session on February 29, aka Leap Day, trampolines dotted the landscape and attendees made full use of them.

Just 72 hours before the doors opened on the very first TEDActive — in Aspen, Colorado, in 2008 — a sprinkler head in the auditorium popped open and proceeded to drench the entire theater for a solid 10 minutes. But despite the water, the first gathering of TEDActivists went on to become legend.

This inspiring tune was written and recorded in four days at TEDActive 2010, a collaborative effort from the John Lennon Educational Tour BusJill Sobule, John Doe, and a host of other talented attendees. The animation is a group effort, too — data artist Aaron Koblin animated the video from drawings made by attendees addressing the question, “What does the world need now?”

A year before Olympics fever hit, the synchronized dance performance troupe the Aqualillies closed out a TEDActive 2011 pool party.

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At TEDActive 2009 — the first ever in Palm Springs — attendee Jim Fallon took the stage to tell this story: “Exploring the Mind of a Killer.” Don’t listen to it late at night. (He later told the rest of the story at the storytelling series, The Moth.)

Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, performed at TEDActive 2011 as his alter age The Nightwatchman during the Grand Desert Party. We’re sure his dentist was not pleased with the length of time he spent playing his guitar with his teeth.

Before the official start of TEDActive 2012, attendees participating in the Urbanization Project were invited to a brainstorm session about how energy consumption could be tamed in the cities of the future. As part of this session, attendees received a private, behind-the-scenes tour of a local Palm Springs wind farm.

The TEDActive 2011 music video was directed by Hiro Murai and featured St. Vincent. Months later, the two collaborated again on St. Vincent’s video for the song “Cheerleader.” Coincidence?

TEDActive 2012 attendees got a taste of the Living Desert, a botanical garden and zoo in Palm Springs full of surprises.