The Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conferences bring together luminaries from a wide range of fields. They come to delight and entertain us with stories of their endeavours — told in less than 18 minutes. We have hand-picked ten of the coolest videos:
Joshua Klein has spent the last 10 years obsessing about crows. These birds traditionally known as harbingers of doom and death are revealed to have a remarkable intelligence. Klein built a vending machine that harnesses this intelligence, in the hope that this will teach them to clean our cities.
In one of the most viewed TED Talks, Sir Ken Robinson makes makes a compelling argument for the need to reform our education system. A talk that is both humorous and sincere shows us that we need a society that does not stigmatise mistakes but rather nurtures creativity in order for us to devise new ideas.
Many will recognise his wind powered mechanical beasts from a 2006 BMW advert. These simple forms of life, constructed out of PVC piping, are highly autonomous. They use lemonade bottles to store wind, sense the water through plastic tubing and anchor themselves by driving in pins into the ground, when the wind gets too strong. Jansen one day hope that these creatures will live in herds on the beach and will one day be living on their own, entirely independent.
Best selling author Malcom Gladwell tells the story of Psychophysicist Howard Moskowitz and his revelation that one should pursue not the perfect Pepsi, but the perfect Pepsis. Prepare for tales of how Moskowitz democratised the way we think about taste, created the perfect spaghetti sauce, overthrew the mustard hierarchy and thickened tomato sauce all in an effort to make us happy.
Although this tech in its current form will only be worn by die hard geeks it provides a glimpse into the future of sixth sense technology. This tech will eventually give us instant access to information that will help us to be better informed about anything from people we meet to products that we buy.
Ever thought that becoming a drug dealer was a ticket to riches? Well think again. Levitt reveals that selling drugs is neither glamorous nor profitable but in fact one of the worst jobs in the United States. Drawing parallels with McDonald’s he shows us that being a drug dealer not only pays below minimum wage but that one has a 25% chance of dying within four years.
Jeff Han: Unveiling the genius of multi-touch interface design
Jeff Han debuted this technology at TED back in 2006 – a year before the iPhone was released. Although we may have become used touch screen technology on mobile devices, this talk shows how much more we can still achieve with multi touch technology and how archaic point and click really is.
Let New York Times technology columnist David Pogue serenade you with songs about help lines, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Apart from these catchy tunes Pogue’s talk centers around the stupid ways in which software designers have built interfaces. He argues that although simplicity comes from consistency there is a need to be intelligent too.
Society is plagued by a major organ shortage. To solve this Antony Atala is using a number of ingenious methods to not only allow the body to regenerate organs but he and his team have successfully built them in a lab from nothing more than a few cells.
We tend to attribute open source to software, however the open source ecology project aims to change that. The project hopes to create Global Village Construction Set that comprises fifty open source designs for everything from a tractor to a bread oven.