TEDxVienna Brave New Space – Thank you!

Early on Saturday Nov 1st, people gathered together in the Viennese Volkstheater for the yearly TEDxVienna conference. The theme for this year’s event was  “Brave New Space” and together with 20 speakers and 1000 guests we’ve explored patterns and discovered new paths. The event was sold out, but we had over 250 people who enjoyed the talks live via the livestream.

If you missed that, here comes a recap that includes also link to where you can find all the photos taken at the event!

Don’t forget to give us feedback! 


The first session of the day started with Fredrik Debong who spoke about technology empowering people to take control over their health care treatments. He spoke about MySugr – a new approach based on gamification to intrinsically motivate people with type I diabetes to stick with their therapies. The next speaker was Amr Sobhy who discussed to pros and cons of leaving the comfort zone and encouraged us to focus on the comfort zone differently rather than constantly being afraid to leave it.

This was followed by a wake up call from Laurie Essig – there is no happily ever after and the fairy-tale prince doesn’t exist, so stop searching. “By selling us an unreachable idea, capitalism makes sure that we’re constantly searching for love”, Essig said. The Riahi brothers discussed their latest movie “Everyday Rebellion” and how everyone can  bring a change by using their creativity and skills to create nonviolent protests. Before going for the lunch break, Robert Hargraves taught us about energetic humanitarians and new energy technologies based on thorium.


During the second session we learned about the way Heather Dewey-Hagborg steals DNA from strangers and the impact of this rather easy process on our privacy. The TEDxVienna stage was also the launch of her new project biononymous.me  that not only opens the conversation and but also encourages action on biological surveillance. Next, Wolfgang Fengler introduced Population.io a platform to investigate questions like “What’s my place in the world? How many people share my birthday? How long will I live?”  based on statistical data from around the world.

Sonja Dakić gave entrepreneurs a simple, but powerful advice: “Overcome your fears, find a good environment and have fun!” Ludovic Ferrière presented a bunch of inspiring lessons learned from meteorites and talked about their high potential in solving future science related problems.  . The next speaker, Roderick Miller, also looked back in time. His project “Tracing the past”  left the audience speechless in front of a true lesson on how  society needs to remember its history. The session was finished on a lighter note when Destin Sandlin encouraged people to look at the world differently, ask why things happen and to get smarter every day: “In a world of talkers, be a thinker & a doer”. 


Kicking off the third session, Carissa Bub introduced us to a new type of leaders – the Luminaries. Chris Dancy, the most connected man, shared his personal story and told us that being connected is something we own to ourselves: “you owe it to yourself to be your own wikipedia”. The next speaker, Stephen D. Larson, explored the intersection between artificial intelligence and biology and the possibilities of encoding love . Next, Stuart Armstrong took us on a journey out to outer space while discussing about ways in which to best colonialize the universe using van Neumann self-replicating probes. The last speaker of the session, Stelarc, explored the capabilities of the human body as well as human-machine interfaces e.g. by a third ear implanted on his arm.


“It’s time for porn to change” was the title of Erica Lust’s talk. As an adult film director, Erica is trying to show another, more gender equal, side of porn and transform the way we think of it. The next treat was an idea of mind-controlled airplanes. Tim Fricke discussed the idea of pilots flying planes without the use of hands but using only their brain signals. “It’s hard to make science fiction into science fact” said Joan Nichols when she explained her teams efforts and success in bio-engineering a lung. “It took 15 years to get there, but we made it. We made the lung” and she presented their bio-engineered human lung right on the TEDxVienna stage. The last talk of the day was given by Rafael Hostettler, who discussed the interface between nature and computers. He introduced his robotics research and how he builds robots with inspiration from nature.

In the upcoming days you’ll be able not only to watch the talks again, but also share them with your friends and family members that could join the conference. So, stay tuned! In the meantime, what was your favourite talk? Let us know: TwitterFacebook & Instagram.

A surprise performance from Dance-Industry came after the last talk and before the After Party.


During the breaks there was time to get refreshments, network or try some of the interactive experiences. You could see how 3D printing works in real life or experience complete relaxation with the HappyMed technology that helps you get over the fear of being at the dentist (amazing, right?). Funny photos, interactive sculptures or the first automated brewery were also ingredients of a one of a kind experience.

Find all the photos from the event here:

Check out our “Welcome to Brave New Space” hyper-lapse and the building of the stage time-lapse.

Thank you also for joining the conversation online! We’re happy to announce that 150 new people joined our community on Twitter, 200 on Facebook and 30 on Instagram! We received lots of positive feedback on Facebook and our messages reached 26.000 people! Also you’ve hashtag-ed 160 pictures from the event! On Twitter more than 2400 tweets went out on the #TEDxVienna hashtags and 351 people tweet only last Saturday!

We, the TEDxVienna team, would like to THANK YOU, the speakers, the guests, all the volunteers and our partners for joining us and making this event possible. We hope you had an amazing experience that you won’t forget that quickly and most importantly, we want you to share the challenge of setting aside the answers you thought you knew and asking the questions you were afraid to ask with all your friends & family!

Looking forward to welcoming you to our next event! Stay tuned!

Header image credit royalty free

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About Monika Abramczuk

Monika studied biotechnology and molecular biology. When not engaged in research, she likes to read spy thrillers, drink tea, bake and travel.

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