While the main stage talks are the intellectual core of the TED experience, they're far from the only thing going on. As one might expect from a community thick with ideas and inspiration, there is an immense undercurrent of entrepreneurial excitement and activity that runs through the event. Here are a few of cooler projects in the works by the TED community this year.
Crowdvoice.org - The young people behind MideastYouth.com - a constellation of sites about minority rights and political activism in the Middle East - have recently released Crowdvoice.org. The platform is a human curated site that allows anyone in the world to go straight to the heart of political and human rights issues and sift through the noise to find the most compelling videos, photos, and other user-created reports from the front lines.
The Braille Phone - The world is increasingly mobile, yet for the blind, mobile interfaces have not developed nearly as far as is necessary to truly give them access to modern computing technology. This is even more the case for people in the developing world who still use feature phones more than smart, web-connected phones. The Braille Phone is a prototype by Indian interaction designer Sumit Dagar that is meant to totally revolutionize the accessibility of the mobile phone.
Marcin Jakubowski - Upon completion of his PhD in the physics of fusion, Marcin Jakubowski felt the need to reconnect with the earth. He began farming in middle America, and as his tractor broke and broke again, he began to wonder why there wasn't some form of open source hardware that allowed people like him to build the machines essential for human civilization. That pondering led to the Global Village Construction Set, a global collaboration to open source the plans and implements for everything from tractors to ovens.
Bubbli - Bubbli debuted on the TED stage yesterday, showing the audience a new augmented reality experience. When people take a photo on their phone or iPad, Bubbli augments the information to create an interactive 3D experience. The idea is that if you take a picture and then want to share it later, people can actually move the phone up, down and around to see not only the main frame of the photo, but the environment around it that you were experiencing when you took the shot.
Push Pop Press - One can't help but look at the ebooks of today and wonder if we're still in the 1.0 phase of online reading. So far, the experience of reading a big offline has simply gone digital, rather than taking advantage of the unique attributes of the digital medium. Push Pop Press is trying to actually change the experience, incorporating immersive multimedia into books in a way that simply hasn't happened yet.