A taste of exploring creativity at 'Sparks of Brilliance'

Some previous speakers at PopTech convenings have already started the exploration of creativity that will be the focus of this year's conference in Camden. Whether it is probing the basic concept of form in the field of design, researching the creative process by breaking down modern inventions into their components, or mapping the brain, the nature of creativity has always been a rich vein of interest in the PopTech community.   

PopTech's 2013 "Sparks of Brilliance" conference is currently being carefully curated to dive deeply into that pool of thought and research. The format will include presentations and discussions about the latest science on the creative mind and how technology creates new platforms for creative connection. 

Some of the most riveting presentations about creativity from the past several years hint at the likely flavor of "Sparks," though this conference will chart its own course. 

Neri Oxman (PopTech 2009) explores the nature of the design process. She is particularly interested in products that mimic the multi-functionality and customization of nature, like building materials that both support a structure and transmit heat and light. "For many years I have been asking myself this one simple question," she said in her talk. "What is the origin of form?"

Thomas Thwaites (PopTech 2011) became so interested in the process of invention, design and construction that he decided to go backwards in time and technology. He built his own toaster — meaning he went out to a mine to gather iron ore and forged plastic and made copper wire to build the 400 parts that make up a modern toaster. 

Sebastian Seung (PopTech 2010 salon speaker) is working on mapping the connectome, a chart of the 100-billon neurons and ten times that many connections between those neurons in the human brain. That guide to how that system operates will expose how our genetic makeup and our experiences blend to mold our thoughts and personalities. 

These thought leaders are pioneering 21st Century explorations into the nature of creativity. And it is only a small taste of what is likely to come at "Sparks." See you there

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