Tuesday, June 7, 2011

David Merrill: Siftables, the toy blocks that think

MIT grad student David Merrill demos Siftables -- cookie-sized, computerized tiles you can stack and shuffle in your hands. These future-toys can do math, play music, and talk to their friends, too. Is this the next thing in hands-on learning?

Johnny Lee: Wii Remote hacks

Johnny Lee demos his amazing Wii Remote hacks, which transform the $40 game piece into a digital whiteboard, a touchscreen and a head-mounted 3-D viewer.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Matthieu Ricard: Habits of happiness

What is happiness, and how can we all get some? Buddhist monk, photographer and author Matthieu Ricard has devoted his life to these questions, and his answer is influenced by his faith as well as by his scientific turn of mind: We can train our minds in habits of happiness. Interwoven with his talk are stunning photographs of the Himalayas and of his spiritual community.

Vilayanur Ramachandran: A journey to the center of your mind

Vilayanur Ramachandran tells us what brain damage can reveal about the connection between celebral tissue and the mind, using three startling delusions as examples.

How it feels to have a stroke

Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened -- as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding -- she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.

Handspring Puppet Company: The genius puppetry behind War Horse

Puppets always have to try to be alive," says Adrian Kohler of the Handspring Puppet Company, a gloriously ambitious troupe of human and wooden actors. Beginning with the tale of a hyena's subtle paw, puppeteers Kohler and Basil Jones build to the story of their latest astonishment: the wonderfully life-like Joey, the War Horse, who trots (and gallops) convincingly onto the TED stage.

Susan Lim: Transplant cells, not organs

Pioneering surgeon Susan Lim performed the first liver transplant in Asia. But a moral concern with transplants (where do donor livers come from ...) led her to look further, and to ask: Could we be transplanting cells, not whole organs?

Carlo Ratti: Architecture that senses and responds

he and his team create dazzling interactive environments from moving water and flying light, powered by simple gestures caught through sensors.

Suzanne Lee: Grow your own clothes

Designer Suzanne Lee shares her experiments in growing a kombucha-based material that can be used like fabric or vegetable leather to make clothing.