Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

Pranav Mistry has developed the Sixth Sense—and no, he doesn’t spontaneously see dead people. Instead, he’s working with technology to seamlessly integrate it into our lives—essentially called “Sixth Sense Technology”.

The SixthSense Device makes use of a small pocket projector, a mirror, a camera and colour markers. The first three items are worn like a necklace, while the colour markers are placed on the fingers to track hand movements. The result? An interactive interface that not only absorbs information from the outside world—it also brings the information back to you. As Mistry puts it, “you can start carrying the digital world around with you”. Any surface—a wall, a desk, even your hand—can be used to interact with that digital world.

It doesn’t stop there. The SixthSense Device can be taken outside, and it is so intuitive to a person’s motions that even making the gesture of taking a picture will prompt the camera to take an actual picture. The camera also recognizes other objects—for instance: the act of picking up a book will prompt the camera to find recent reviews about that book, or other sorts of information. Adding a small microphone and ‘clipping’ it onto a paper can enable the camera to treat any surface—such as a piece of paper—as a TV screen, where you can watch movies or even play games. The potential of SixthSense technology is enormous.

However, Sixth Sense Technology is only one of the hundreds of videos found on Ted.com. The TED Conference, short for “Technology, Entertainment, Design”, started as a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading ideas. Since April 2007, TED has moved into its site, which offers over 450 videos on topics such as business, science, culture, global issues and—of course—technology, entertainment and design. Past speakers on Ted.com include people such as Jane Goodall, world-renowned primatologist, Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize winner for his work on climate change, and many more.

Still not interested? Check out these new engineering ideas that have also been presented on Ted.com!

• Saul Griffith on Kites: Thought that no form of renewable energy could sustain the human population? Griffith talks about the extraordinary wind power behind kites, and how a kite the size of a Boeing 747 could generate more power than the largest wind turbines today.

• Rachel Armstrong on Self-Repairing Architecture: The days of stone structures are over. Armstrong talks about working with architecture and making materials that can grow and repair itself—talk about a construction project!

• Aimee Mullins on Legs: Who says engineers can’t be involved in fashion? Aimee Mullins, an amputee who has had both legs removed, talks about her eleven pairs of legs—and how she has overcome her disability.

Don’t let ideas for design projects ever stump you again! For more inspirational, inventive and interesting speeches, make sure to visit Ted.com!

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