For the last three years, Jeff Bezos’ ultra exclusive MARS event has sparked a lot of buzz, with questions surrounding what exactly goes on during the invite-only event.
This year, I was lucky enough (and very honored) to receive an invitation, and see firsthand what goes on behind closed doors. From levitating cars to a “strongman suit” that provides the wearer with superhuman strength, the event featured amazing inventions presented by some of the most innovative minds, and offered attendees the chance to explore the future possibilities of the tech industry. The three day conference was packed with presentations, demos, and excursions and activities, but here are some of my key takeaways and highlights from the event.
ROBOTICS, ROBOTICS, ROBOTICS
As many are familiar with, MARS stands for “machine learning, automation, robotics, and space.” While each of these technologies had a presence at the event, what impressed me most were the excitement surrounding the possibilities in robotics. Roughly two thirds of the demos included some sort of robot or everyday products with roboticized elements. Bezos himself strolled the grounds alongside a SpotMini robot dog, created by Boston Dynamics, and participated in a beer pong battle with a robotic arm. This was just a taste of what was on display during the conference, as many attendees brought entirely new concepts to life that most people wouldn’t even think were possible.
Although some impressive inventions were on display, the talks surrounding many of these demos were very futuristic. Most of what was shown during the event likely won’t make it to market in the coming months or even years. However, it does give us a good indication of where the tech industry will be heading towards in the future, and it’s safe to say robotics will be at the forefront.
UNDERSTANDING PHYSICS HELPS
As a professor with a background in physics, my previous knowledge and experience certainly helped me to fully appreciate the content at MARS. As this conference is more about discussing the possibilities of how science will impact our everyday lives, having a good grasp on physics and math was needed to follow along with several of the demos, ask the right questions, and engage in conversations where attendees were able to bounce ideas off of each other.
A SAFE SPACE FOR FORWARD THINKERS
The attendees at MARS included everyone from accomplished academics and professors, to Nobel prize winner and celebrities, but the one thing they all had in common was that they are all forward thinkers, who are open to new ideas and the potential that new tech and innovation can bring. While many focus on the exclusivity and mystery behind the event, a common value among all the attendees was not just impressive achievements and backgrounds, but the fact that each individual is open to exploring the boundaries that can be pushed to continue leading us into the future.
Outside of the presentations and demos, there was ample time for attendees to mingle and meet new people, and discuss new thoughts and ideas.
Each person brought unique perspectives and knowledge to the table, and many of the conversations over lunch and dinner transformed into a think tank where we were able to share our thoughts on the days’ presentations, and even create new methods and technologies to implement into our own work and inventions.
Above all, the organizers of MARS make it clear that one of the main purposes of the conference is for great minds to connect. Every attendee was there to learn and explore, make lasting connections, and take what they learned into their future endeavors. Personally, I walked away from the weekend with several new ideas, and a new perspective on the future and potential of the tech industry.