1. Will Marshall: Tiny satellites that photograph the entire planet, every day
Satellite imaging has revolutionized our knowledge of the Earth, with detailed images of nearly every street corner readily available online. But Planet Labs’ Will Marshall says we can do better and go faster — by getting smaller. He introduces his tiny satellites — no bigger than 10 by 10 by 30 centimeters — that, when launched in a cluster, provide high-res images of the entire planet, updated daily.
2. Massimo Banzi: How Arduino is open-sourcing imagination
Massimo Banzi helped invent the Arduino, a tiny, easy-to-use open-source microcontroller that’s inspired thousands of people around the world to make the coolest things they can imagine — from toys to satellite gear. Because, as he says, “You don’t need anyone’s permission to make something great.”
3. Lisa Harouni: A primer on 3D printing
2012 may be the year of 3D printing, when this three-decade-old technology finally becomes accessible and even commonplace. Lisa Harouni gives a useful introduction to this fascinating way of making things — including intricate objects once impossible to create.
4. R. Luke DuBois: Insightful human portraits made from data
Artist R. Luke DuBois makes unique portraits of presidents, cities, himself and even Britney Spears using data and personality. In this talk, he shares nine projects — from maps of the country built using information taken from millions of dating profiles to a gun that fires a blank every time a shooting is reported in New Orleans. His point: the way we use technology reflects on us and our culture, and we reduce others to data points at our own peril.
5. Manu Prakash: A 50-cent microscope that folds like origami
Perhaps you’ve punched out a paper doll or folded an origami swan? TED Fellow Manu Prakash and his team have created a microscope made of paper that’s just as easy to fold and use. A sparkling demo that shows how this invention could revolutionize healthcare in developing countries … and turn almost anything into a fun, hands-on science experiment.
6. Fabian Hemmert: The shape-shifting future of the mobile phone
In this short, amazing demo, Fabien Hemmert imagines one future of the mobile phone — a shape-shifting and weight-shifting handset that “displays” information nonvisually. It’s a delightfully intuitive way to communicate.
7. Tan Le: A headset that reads your brainwaves
Tan Le’s astonishing new computer interface reads its user’s brainwaves, making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). She demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.
8. Renny Gleeson: Our antisocial phone tricks
In this funny (and actually poignant) 3-minute talk, social strategist Renny Gleeson breaks down our always-on social world — where the experience we’re having right now is less interesting than what we’ll tweet about it later.
9. Markus Fischer: A robot that flies like a bird
Plenty of robots can fly — but none can fly like a real bird. That is, until Markus Fischer and his team at Festo built SmartBird, a large, lightweight robot, modeled on a seagull, that flies by flapping its wings. A soaring demo fresh from TEDGlobal 2011.
10. New Bionics Let Us Run, Climb and Dance | Hugh Herr
Hugh Herr is building the next generation of bionic limbs, robotic prosthetics inspired by nature’s own designs. Herr lost both legs in a climbing accident 30 years ago; now, as the head of the MIT Media Lab’s Biomechatronics group, he shows his incredible technology in a talk that’s both technical and deeply personal — with the help of ballroom dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost her left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and performs again for the first time on the TED stage.