Traditional lab tests for disease diagnosis can be too expensive and cumbersome for the regions most in need. George Whitesides' ingenious answer is a foolproof tool that can be manufactured at virtually zero cost.
When Jamie Heywood's brother was diagnosed with ALS, he devoted his life to fighting the disease as well. The Heywood brothers built an ingenious website where people share and track data on their illnesses -- and they discovered that the collective data had enormous power to comfort, explain and predict.
MacArthur winner Sendhil Mullainathan uses the lens of behavioral economics to study a tricky set of social problems -- those we know how to solve, but don't. We know how to reduce child deaths due to diarrhea, how to prevent diabetes-related blindness and how to implement solar-cell technology ... yet somehow, we don't or can't. Why?
At her Harvard commencement speech, "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling offers some powerful, heartening advice to dreamers and overachievers, including one hard-won lesson that she deems "worth more than any qualification I ever earned."
In the developing world, access to incubators is limited by cost and distance, and millions of premature babies die each year. TED Fellow Jane Chen shows an invention that could keep millions of these infants warm -- a design that's safe, portable, low-cost and life-saving.
In this passionate talk, Eve Ensler declares that there is a girl cell in us all -- a cell that we have all been taught to suppress. She tells heartfelt stories of girls around the world who have overcome shocking adversity and violence to reveal the astonishing strength of being a girl.
Can architects re-engineer their design process? Joshua Prince-Ramus shows how the results can be spectacular. He walks us through his fantastic re-creation of the Wyly Theater as a giant "theatrical machine" that reconfigures itself at the touch of a button.
Where you live: It impacts your health as much as diet and genes do, but it's not part of your medical records. At TEDMED, Bill Davenhall shows how overlooked government geo-data (from local heart-attack rates to toxic dumpsite info) can mesh with mobile GPS apps to keep doctors in the loop. Call it "geo-medicine."
At the Royal Institution in 1991, Richard Dawkins asks us to look at our universe with new eyes. Packed with big questions and illuminating visuals, this memorable journey through the history of life magnifies the splendor of evolution and our place in it.
Percussionist Sivamani delivers one of TED's liveliest and most inventive performances yet. He uses traditional Western and Eastern instruments to create a rhythmic tour de force, along with a tub of water, corrugated metal, spoons, luggage, our stage props and even a little audience participation.
Anthony Atala's state-of-the-art lab grows human organs -- from muscles to blood vessels to bladders, and more. At TEDMED, he shows footage of his bio-engineers working with some of its sci-fi gizmos, including an oven-like bioreactor (preheat to 98.6 F) and a machine that "prints" human tissue.
In this highly personal talk from TEDMED, magician and stuntman David Blaine describes what it took to hold his breath underwater for 17 minutes -- a world record (only two minutes shorter than this entire talk!) -- and what his often death-defying work means to him. Warning: do NOT try this at home.
In a presentation that can only be described as epic, comedian Charles Fleischer delivers a hysterical send-up of a time-honored TED theme: the map. Geometry, numbers, charts and stamp art also factor in (somehow), as he weaves together a unique theory of everything called "Moleeds."
In the midst of an earlier crisis, Haitian author Edwidge Danticat reminds us of the contributions of Haiti's vibrant culture and people. This reading offers a timely message for today -- as the nation struggles in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake.
As of 2005, only 15 percent of the world was mapped. This slows the delivery of aid after a disaster -- and hides the economic potential of unused lands and unknown roads. In this short talk, Google's Lalitesh Katragadda demos Map Maker, a group map-making tool that people around the globe are using to map their world.
Kiran Bir Sethi shows how her groundbreaking Riverside School in India teaches kids life's most valuable lesson: "I can." Watch her students take local issues into their own hands, lead other young people, even educate their parents.
Traditionally, the Kalandar community of India has survived by capturing sloth bear cubs and training them to "dance" through extreme cruelty. Kartick Satyanarayan has been able to put an end to this centuries-old practice, and in so doing discovered a lesson of wider significance: make the practitioners part of the solution.
In 2007, Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch, who was dying of pancreatic cancer, delivered a one-of-a-kind last lecture that made the world stop and pay attention. This moving talk will teach you how to really achieve your childhood dreams. Unmissable.
Legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock delivers a stunning performance alongside two old friends -- past drummer for the Headhunters, Harvey Mason, and bassist Marcus Miller. Listen to the end to hear them sweeten the classic "Watermelon Man."
The gharial and king cobra are two of India's most iconic reptiles, and they're endangered because of polluted waterways. Conservationist Romulus Whitaker shows rare footage of these magnificent animals and urges us to save the rivers that sustain their lives and our own.
To find the path to long life and health, Dan Buettner and team study the world's "Blue Zones," communities whose elders live with vim and vigor to record-setting age. In his talk, he shares the 9 common diet and lifestyle habits that keep them spry past age 100.
Nick Veasey shows outsized X-ray images that reveal the otherworldly inner workings of familiar objects -- from the geometry of a wildflower to the anatomy of a Boeing 747. Producing these photos is dangerous and painstaking, but the reward is a superpower: looking at what the human eye can't see.
Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran outlines the fascinating functions of mirror neurons. Only recently discovered, these neurons allow us to learn complex social behaviors, some of which formed the foundations of human civilization as we know it.
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.
At the BIF innovation summit, Cat Laine draws on the Greek myth of Tantalus to explain the frustration developing countries face. She shows how we might help communities rich in human capital, but poor in resources and infrastructure, with cleverly engineered solutions.