Maker and autonomous astronaut
Cameron Smith occupies, and in fact defines, the extreme end of the maker movement. He’s an archeologist, explorer, and academic, most importantly for TEDx Brussels however he’s also an autonomous astronaut. He couldn’t join NASA’s official program because of his eyesight so instead he’s built a spacesuit for himself - in his living room - for $2,000 (NASA’s cost $12million). To prove his suit works he’s also made himself a balloon that will take him up to 50,000 feet where the cirrus clouds form.
Cameron teaches human evolution and prehistory at Portland State University with a specialism in use wear analysis - analysing the cutting edges of artefacts to determine what they’ve been used for and why. He’s published numerous peer reviewed articles and books about the peoples of the Pacific North West, specifically riverine and maritime cultures along the Columbia River. His research has also included an estimation of how many people we would need to sustain the human race for centuries-long space travel.
He’s a life fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and has been a long-time explorer of wild places both Arctic and sub-arctic. Recently he sailed a log raft off South America and crossed the Vatnajokull ice cap of Iceland. The design and making of a home made space suit is the latest version of a long running passion for the wilds that sees the stratosphere as an unexplored frontier. Cameron has been working with Copenhagen Suborbitals whose stated mission is to prove to the world that launching a person into space without government funding or regulation is possible and desirable.
That sounds like just the kind of thing TEDx Brussels should be talking about…