A roadmap to end aging
Cambridge researcher Aubrey de Grey argues that aging is merely a disease -- and a curable one at that. Humans age in seven basic ways, he says, all of which can be averted.
Tom Shannon's anti-gravity sculpture
Tom Shannon shows off his gravity-defying, otherworldly sculpture -- made of simple, earthly materials -- that floats and spins like planets on magnets and suspension wire. It's science-inspired art at its most heavenly.
A robot that runs and swims like a salamander
Roboticist Auke Ijspeert designs biorobots, machines modeled after real animals that are capable of handling complex terrain and would appear at home in the pages of a sci-fi novel. The process of creating these robots leads to better automata that can be used for fieldwork, service, and search and rescue. But these robots don't just mimic the natural world — they
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Robots that "show emotion"
David Hanson's robot faces look and act like yours: They recognize and respond to emotion, and make expressions of their own. Here, an "emotional" live demo of the Einstein robot offers a peek at a future where robots truly mimic humans.
How to grow a tiny forest anywhere
A forest planted by humans, then left to nature’s own devices, typically takes at least 100 years to mature. But what if we could make the process happen ten times faster? In this short talk, eco-entrepreneur (and TED Fellow) Shubhendu Sharma explains how to create a mini-forest ecosystem anywhere.
A prosthetic arm that "feels"
Physiatrist and engineer Todd Kuiken is building a prosthetic arm that connects with the human nervous system -- improving motion, control and even feeling. Onstage, patient Amanda Kitts helps demonstrate this next-gen robotic arm.
Sweat the small stuff
It may seem that big problems require big solutions, but ad man Rory Sutherland says many flashy, expensive fixes are just obscuring better, simpler answers. To illustrate, he uses behavioral economics and hilarious examples.
A "self-healing" asphalt
Paved roads are nice to look at, but they’re easily damaged and costly to repair. Erik Schlangen demos a new type of porous asphalt made of simple materials with an astonishing feature: When cracked, it can be “healed” by induction heating. (Filmed at TEDxDelft.)
This computer will grow your food in the future
What if we could grow delicious, nutrient-dense food, indoors anywhere in the world? Caleb Harper, director of the Open Agriculture Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, wants to change the food system by connecting growers with technology. Get to know Harper's "food computers" and catch a glimpse of what the future of farming might look like.
My seven species of robot
Dennis Hong introduces seven award-winnning, all-terrain robots -- like the humanoid, soccer-playing DARwIn and the cliff-gripping CLIMBeR -- all built by his team at RoMeLa, Virginia Tech. Watch to the end to hear the five creative secrets to his lab's incredible technical success. (Filmed at TEDxNASA.)
Meet Rezero, the dancing ballbot
Onstage at TEDGlobal, Péter Fankhauser demonstrates Rezero, a robot that balances on a ball. Designed and built by a group of engineering students, Rezero is the first ballbot made to move quickly and gracefully -- and even dance.
Agile programming -- for your family
Bruce Feiler has a radical idea: To deal with the stress of modern family life, go agile. Inspired by agile software programming, Feiler introduces family practices which encourage flexibility, bottom-up idea flow, constant feedback and accountability. One surprising feature: Kids pick their own punishments.
How pig parts make the world turn
Christien Meindertsma, author of "Pig 05049" looks at the astonishing afterlife of the ordinary pig, parts of which make their way into at least 185 non-pork products, from bullets to artificial hearts.
Could tissue engineering mean personalized medicine?
Each of our bodies is utterly unique, which is a lovely thought until it comes to treating an illness -- when every body reacts differently, often unpredictably, to standard treatment. Tissue engineer Nina Tandon talks about a possible solution: Using pluripotent stem cells to make personalized models of organs on which to test new drugs and treatments, and storing
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What time is it on Mars?
Nagin Cox is a first-generation Martian. As a spacecraft engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Cox works on the team that manages the United States' rovers on Mars. But working a 9-to-5 on another planet — whose day is 40 minutes longer than Earth's — has particular, often comical challenges.
Kwabena Boahen on a computer that works like the brain
Researcher Kwabena Boahen is looking for ways to mimic the brain's supercomputing powers in silicon -- because the messy, redundant processes inside our heads actually make for a small, light, superfast computer.
Eric Giler demos wireless electricity
Eric Giler wants to untangle our wired lives with cable-free electric power. Here, he covers what this sci-fi tech offers, and demos MIT's breakthrough version, WiTricity -- a near-to-market invention that may soon recharge your cell phone, car, pacemaker.
George Dyson at the birth of the computer
Historian George Dyson tells stories from the birth of the modern computer -- from its 17th-century origins to the hilarious notebooks of some early computer engineers.
How I repaired my own heart
Tal Golesworthy is a boiler engineer -- he knows piping and plumbing. When he needed surgery to repair a life-threatening problem with his aorta, he mixed his engineering skills with his doctors' medical knowledge to design a better repair job.
Paul Moller on the Skycar
Paul Moller talks about the future of personal air travel -- the marriage of autos and flight that will give us true freedom to travel off-road. He shows two things he's working on: the Moller Skycar (a jet + car) and a passenger-friendly hovering disc.
Easy DIY projects for kid engineers
TED Resident Fawn Qiu designs fun, low-cost projects that use familiar materials like paper and fabric to introduce engineering to kids. In this quick, clever talk, she shares how nontraditional workshops like hers can change the perception of technology and inspire students to participate in creating it.
Burt Rutan sees the future of space
In this passionate talk, legendary spacecraft designer Burt Rutan lambasts the US government-funded space program for stagnating and asks entrepreneurs to pick up where NASA has left off.
Neil Gershenfeld on Fab Labs
MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld talks about his Fab Lab -- a low-cost lab that lets people build things they need using digital and analog tools. It's a simple idea with powerful results.
These robots come to the rescue after a disaster
When disaster strikes, who's first on the scene? More and more, it’s a robot. In her lab, Robin Murphy builds robots that fly, tunnel, swim and crawl through disaster scenes, helping firefighters and rescue workers save more lives safely — and help communities return to normal up to three years faster.
David Keith's unusual climate change idea
Environmental scientist David Keith proposes a cheap, effective, shocking means to address climate change: What if we injected a huge cloud of ash into the atmosphere to deflect sunlight and heat?
Sculptor and engineer Arthur Ganson talks about his work -- kinetic art that explores deep philosophical ideas and is gee-whiz fun to look at.
High-altitude wind energy from kites!
In this brief talk, Saul Griffith unveils the invention his new company Makani Power has been working on: giant kite turbines that create surprising amounts of clean, renewable energy.
Bio-lab on a microchip
Drugs alone can't stop disease in sub-Saharan Africa: We need diagnostic tools to match. TED Senior Fellow Frederick Balagadde shows how we can multiply the power and availability of an unwieldy, expensive diagnostic lab -- by miniaturizing it to the size of a chip.
The mind behind Linux
Linus Torvalds transformed technology twice — first with the Linux kernel, which helps power the Internet, and again with Git, the source code management system used by developers worldwide. In a rare interview with TED Curator Chris Anderson, Torvalds discusses with remarkable openness the personality traits that prompted his unique philosophy of work, engineering
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How to grow a forest in your backyard
Forests don't have to be far-flung nature reserves, isolated from human life. Instead, we can grow them right where we are — even in cities. Eco-entrepreneur and TED Fellow Shubhendu Sharma grows ultra-dense, biodiverse mini-forests of native species in urban areas by engineering soil, microbes and biomass to kickstart natural growth processes. Follow along as he
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Adam Sadowsky engineers a viral music video
The band "OK Go" dreamed up the idea of a massive Rube Goldberg machine for their next music video -- and Adam Sadowsky's team was charged with building it. He tells the story of the effort and engineering behind their labyrinthine creation that quickly became a YouTube sensation.
The art of the eco-mindshift
Natalie Jeremijenko's unusual lab puts art to work, and addresses environmental woes by combining engineering know-how with public art and a team of volunteers. These real-life experiments include: Walking tadpoles, texting "fish," planting fire-hydrant gardens and more.
Gene editing can now change an entire species — forever
CRISPR gene drives allow scientists to change sequences of DNA and guarantee that the resulting edited genetic trait is inherited by future generations, opening up the possibility of altering entire species forever. More than anything, the technology has led to questions: How will this new power affect humanity? What are we going to use it to change? Are we gods now?
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A new way to heal hearts without surgery
At the intersection of medical invention and indigenous culture, pediatric cardiologist Franz Freudenthal mends holes in the hearts of children across the world, using a device born from traditional Bolivian loom weaving. "The most complex problems in our time," he says, "can be solved with simple techniques, if we are able to dream."
A new superweapon in the fight against cancer
Cancer is a very clever, adaptable disease. To defeat it, says medical researcher and educator Paula Hammond, we need a new and powerful mode of attack. With her colleagues at MIT, Hammond engineered a nanoparticle one-hundredth the size of a human hair that can treat the most aggressive, drug-resistant cancers. Learn more about this molecular superweapon and join
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Don't fear superintelligent AI
New tech spawns new anxieties, says scientist and philosopher Grady Booch, but we don't need to be afraid an all-powerful, unfeeling AI. Booch allays our worst (sci-fi induced) fears about superintelligent computers by explaining how we'll teach, not program, them to share our human values. Rather than worry about an unlikely existential threat, he urges us to
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What will humans look like in 100 years?
We can evolve bacteria, plants and animals — futurist Juan Enriquez asks: Is it ethical to evolve the human body? In a visionary talk that ranges from medieval prosthetics to present day neuroengineering and genetics, Enriquez sorts out the ethics associated with evolving humans and imagines the ways we'll have to transform our own bodies if we hope to explore and
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Amy Smith shares simple, lifesaving design
Fumes from indoor cooking fires kill more than 2 million children a year in the developing world. MIT engineer Amy Smith details an exciting but simple solution: a tool for turning farm waste into clean-burning charcoal.
How Syria's architecture laid the foundation for brutal war
What caused the war in Syria? Oppression, drought and religious differences all played key roles, but Marwa Al-Sabouni suggests another reason: architecture. Speaking to us over the Internet from Homs, where for the last six years she has watched the war tear her city apart, Al-Sabouni suggests that Syria's architecture divided its once tolerant and multicultural
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The next manufacturing revolution is here
Economic growth has been slowing for the past 50 years, but relief might come from an unexpected place — a new form of manufacturing that is neither what you thought it was nor where you thought it was. Industrial systems thinker Olivier Scalabre details how a fourth manufacturing revolution will produce a macroeconomic shift and boost employment, productivity and
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The taboo secret to healthier plants and people
Our poop and pee have superpowers, but for the most part we don't harness them. Molly Winter faces down our squeamishness and asks us to see what goes down the toilet as a resource, one that can help fight climate change, spur innovation and even save us money.
Shape-shifting tech will change work as we know it
What will the world look like when we move beyond the keyboard and mouse? Interaction designer Sean Follmer is building a future with machines that bring information to life under your fingers as you work with it. In this talk, check out prototypes for a 3D shape-shifting table, a phone that turns into a wristband, a deformable game controller and more that may change
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What you need to know about CRISPR
Should we bring back the wooly mammoth? Or edit a human embryo? Or wipe out an entire species that we consider harmful? The genome-editing technology CRISPR has made extraordinary questions like these legitimate — but how does it work? Scientist and community lab advocate Ellen Jorgensen is on a mission to explain the myths and realities of CRISPR, hype-free, to the
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The next step in nanotechnology
Every year the silicon computer chip shrinks in size by half and doubles in power, enabling our devices to become more mobile and accessible. But what happens when our chips can't get any smaller? George Tulevski researches the unseen and untapped world of nanomaterials. His current work: developing chemical processes to compel billions of carbon nanotubes to assemble
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We need nuclear power to solve climate change
Joe Lassiter is a deep thinker and straight talker focused on developing clean, secure and carbon-neutral supplies of reliable, low-cost energy. His analysis of the world's energy realities puts a powerful lens on the stubbornly touchy issue of nuclear power, including new designs for plants that can compete economically with fossil fuels. We have the potential to
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Bertrand Piccard's solar-powered adventure
For the dawn of a new decade, adventurer Bertrand Piccard offers us a challenge: Find motivation in what seems impossible. He shares his own plans to do what many say can't be done -- to fly around the world, day and night, in a solar-powered aircraft.
How do you build a sacred space?
To design the Bahá'í Temple of South America, architect Siamak Hariri focused on illumination — from the temple's form, which captures the movement of the sun throughout the day, to the iridescent, luminous stone and glass used to construct it. Join Hariri for a journey through the creative process, as he explores what makes for a sacred experience in a secular world.