[Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect a correction. It was incorrectly reported that the UF TED club organized the TEDxUF event. UF's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation was the event organizer.]
Liz Ohrablo aimed a yellow, gun-shaped thermometer and pulled the trigger. The red laser was connected to a student-made air purifier. She said she saw the thermometer jump from 150 to 1,000 degrees as the purifier killed microbes in the air.
"That's crazy," she said. "Can you put that in your house?"
The 20-year-old economics junior was just one in the crowd at the Phillips Center on Saturday at the third-annual TEDxUF event.
UF's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation put on TEDxUF, which uses the name and format of a nonprofit conference known for its series of videos of prominent speakers.
This year's event brought more than double the crowd last year's did. The 1,600 free tickets were gone in three weeks, but 1,200 people attended the event, said UF's TED club president Ben Erez. About 1,000 attendees registered early, and the rest were standbys waiting outside.
The event relocated to the Phillips Center from the smaller Constans Theatre, and the number of speakers increased from eight to 13, he said.
The event cost $18,000, said Erez, who was in charge of fundraising and finding the speakers. All of them came for free, he said. UF bodies such as Student Government and the Office of the Provost helped fund it.
Jacob Atem, a UF graduate student, gave a lecture in which he talked about how he was displaced by a civil war in Sudan and became president of the Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization. Neurologist Dr. Michael Okun and neurosurgeon Dr. Kelly Foote showed videos about controlling the brain with electric signals.
Twenty local businesses and institutes also showcased new devices and business practices.
"It was like an idea Woodstock," Erez said. "We brought so many diverse speakers and ideas that everyone found something."
Twenty-year-old industrial engineering junior Cameron Kass said the speakers during the first half of the event were too focused on raising awareness for their organizations.
"I didn't take much interest in it," he said. "I didn't come here to see a commercial."
Ohrablo said she was most excited to see Morris Morrison, the motivational speaker who closed the event with his lecture "Redefining Success." She said she wanted to see innovations in thought and technology.
"The world is constantly changing, and TED stays on top of that," she said.