My name is Simone.
You know how people tell you
if you get nervous when onstage,
picture people in the audience naked?
Like it’s this thing that’s supposed to make you feel better.
But I was thinking —
picturing all of you naked in 2018 feels kind of weird and wrong.
Like, we’re working really hard on moving past stuff like that,
so we need a new method of dealing with
if you get nervous onstage.
And I realized that what I’d really like
is that I can look at you as much
as you’re looking at me —
just to even things out a little bit.
So if I had way more eyeballs,
then we’d all be really comfortable, right?
So in preparation for this talk,
I made myself a shirt.
It’s googly eyes.
It took me 14 hours
and 227 googly eyes to make this shirt.
And being able to look at you as much as you’re looking at me
is actually only half of the reason I made this.
The other half is being able to do this.
So I do a lot of things like this.
I see a problem and I invent some sort of solution to it.
For example, brushing your teeth.
Like, it’s this thing we all have to do,
it’s kind of boring, and nobody really likes it.
If there were anyseven-year-olds in the audience,
they’d be like,”Yes!”
So what about if you had a machine that could do it for you?
I call it…
I call it”The Toothbrush Helmet.”
So my toothbrush helmet is recommended
by zero out of 10 dentists,
and it definitely did not revolutionize the world of dentistry,
but it did completely change my life.
Because I finished making this toothbrush helmet three years ago
and after I finished making it,
I went into my living room and I put up a camera,
and I filmed a seven-secondclip of it working.
And by now, this is a pretty standardmodern-day fairy tale
of girl posting on the internet,
the internet takes the girl by storm,
thousands of men voyageinto the comment sections
to ask for her hand in marriage —
She ignores all of them, starts a YouTube channel
and keeps on building robots.
Since then, I’ve carved
out this little niche for myself on the internet
as an inventor of useless machines,
because as we all know,
the easiest way to be at the top of your field
is to choose a very small field.
So I run a YouTube channelabout my machines,
and I’ve done thingslike cutting hair with drones —
To a machine that helps me wake up in the morning —
(Video) Simone: Ow!
To this machinethat helps me chop vegetables.
I’m not an engineer.
I did not study engineering in school.
But I was a super ambitiousstudent growing up.
In middle school and high school,I had straight A’s,
and I graduated at the top of my year.
On the flip side of that, I struggled with very severe performance anxiety.
Here’s an email I sentto my brother around that time.
“You won’t understandhow difficult it is for me to tell you,
to confess this.
I’m so freaking embarrassed.
I don’t want peopleto think that I’m stupid.
Now I’m starting to cry too.
可恶” 不 我并没有意外烧掉我父母的房子
Damn.” And no, I did not accidentally burn our parents’ house down.
The thing I’m writing
about in the email and the thing I’m so upset about
is that I got a B on a math test.
So something obviously happenedbetween here and here.
One of those things was puberty.
Beautiful time indeed.
But moreover, I got interested in building robots,
and I wanted to teach myselfabout hardware.
But building things with hardware,especially if you’re teaching yourself,
is something that’s reallydifficult to do.
It has a high likelihood of failure and moreover,
it has a high likelihood of making you feel stupid.
And that was my biggest fear at the time.
So I came up with a setup
that would guarantee success 100 percent of the time.
With my setup, it would benearly impossible to fail.
And that was that insteadof trying to succeed,
I was going to try to buildthings that would fail.
And even though I didn’trealize it at the time,
building stupid thingswas actually quite smart,
because as I kept onlearning about hardware,
for the first time in my life,
I did not have to deal with my performance anxiety.
And as soon as I removed
all pressure and expectations from myself,
that pressure quicklygot replaced by enthusiasm,
and it allowed me to just play.
So as an inventor, I’m interested in things that people struggle with.
It can be small things or big thingsor medium-sized things
and something like giving a TED talk
presents this whole new set of problems that I can solve.
And identifying a problemis the first step
in my process of building a useless machine.
So before I came here,
I sat down and I thought of some of the potential problems I might have
in giving this talk.
Forgetting what to say.
That people won’t laugh — that’s you.
Or even worse, that you’ll laugh at
the wrong things — that was an OK part to laugh at, thank you.
Or that when I get nervous,my hands start shaking
and I’m really self-conscious about it.
Or that my fly has beenopen this entire time
and all of you noticed but I didn’t,
but it’s closed so we’reall good on that one.
But one thing I’m actually really nervous about is my hands shaking.
I remember when I was a kid,
giving presentations in school,
I would have my notes on a piece of paper,
and I would put a notebookbehind the paper
so that people wouldn’t be ableto see the paper quivering.
And I give a lot of talks.
I know that about half of you
in the audience are probably like,
“Building useless machines is really fun,
but how is this in any way or form a business?”
And giving talks is a part of it.
And the arrangers always put out a glass
of water for you onstage
so you have something to drinkif you get thirsty,
and I always so badlywant to drink that water,
but I don’t dare to pick the glass up
because then people might be able to see that my hands are shaking.
So what about a machine that hands you a glass of water?
Sold to the nervous girlin the googly-eye shirt.
Actually, I need to take this off
because I have a thing —
I still don’t know what to call this,
but I think some sort of”head orbit device,”
because it rotatesthis platform around you
and you can put anything on it.
You can have a camera; you can get photos of your entire head.
Like it’s really –it’s a very versatile machine.
and I have —
我的意思是 你可以放些零食在这上面 例如
I mean, you can put some snacks on it, for example,
if you want to.
I have some popcorn here.
And you just put a little bit like that.
And then you want to —
Oh, there’s some sacrifices for science —
just some popcorn falling on the floor.
Let’s do the long way around.
And then you have a little hand.
You need to adjust the height of it,
and you just do it by shrugging.
It has a little hand.
I just bumped my mic off,
but I think we’re all good.
OK, also I need to chew this popcorn,
so if you guys could just clap your hands a little bit more —
OK, so it’s like your ownlittle personal solar system,
because I’m a millennial, so I want everything to revolve around me.
Back to the glass of water,that’s what we’re here for.
因此 我承诺 我的意思是它还有
So, I promise — I mean, it still has —
it doesn’t have any water in it, I’m sorry.
But I still need to work on this machine a little bit
because I still need to pick up the glass and put it on the platform,
but if your handsare shaking a little bit,
nobody’s going to notice because you’re
wearing a very mesmerizing piece of equipment.
So, we’re all good.
Oh no, it got stuck.
有时连机器人在台上也会受到惊吓 差可告慰 嗯？
Isn’t it comforting that even robotssometimes get stage fright?
It just gets stuck a little bit.
It’s very human of them.
Oh wait, let’s go back a little bit,
and then —
Isn’t it a beautiful time to be alive?
So as much as my machines can seem
like simple engineering slapstick,
I realize that I stumbledon something bigger than that.
It’s this expression of joy and humility
that often gets lost in engineering,
and for me it was a wayto learn about hardware
without having my performanceanxiety get in the way.
I often get asked if I think I’m ever going to build something useful,
and maybe someday I will.
But the way I see it,
I already have because I’ve built myself this job
and it’s something that I couldnever have planned for,
or that I could —
It’s something that I couldnever have planned for.
Instead it happened just because I was enthusiastic
about what I was doing,
and I was sharing that enthusiasmwith other people.
To me that’s the true beautyof making useless things,
because it’s this acknowledgment
that you don’t always knowwhat the best answer is.
And it turns off that voice in your head
that tells you that you knowexactly how the world works.
And maybe a toothbrush helmetisn’t the answer,
but at least you’re asking the question.