When we talk about startups and entrepreneurs, we quite often think of the digital world and huge websites or social media innovation. But entrepreneurs and startups are quite often all about science and research. And with the huge boom of research being conducted right now, some pretty amazing things are popping up, and we seem to be getting a better grasp on what we need to do to solve some of the world’s most prominent issues.
These 10 TED Talks cover a range of scientific topics, from saving lives and solving the environmental disaster that is climate change, to challenging myths about psychology and looking towards the future possibilities of the human mind. How about the ability to make wine taste even better! I wasn’t sure that was possible, but apparently, it is.
Bill Gates – Innovating to zero!
What better way to start off our Top 10, than with Bill Gate’s all-encompassing talk about energy and the future of planet earth. He stresses how important these environmental issues are for everyone in the world – especially the two-billion (or more) who live in poverty around the world. He also makes the point that simply “reducing emissions” is no longer a viable option – we must completely stop emissions altogether.
Jorge Soto – The future of early cancer detection?
Ok, imagine being able to walk into a health clinic and getting yourself tested for cancer without an appointment, in a non-intrusive manner. And you would see all the results in 60 minutes. All the results for every type of cancer – in 60 minutes. And it would cost you less than a trip to the chiropractor. Jorge has a working prototype that can do this and he is bang-on when he says that the single biggest cause of death from cancer is late detection. Catching cancer in stages three or four is simply not good enough.
Ray Kurzweil – Get ready for hybrid thinking
We’re on the precipice of a leap in brain power, the like which has not been seen for 65 million years. In this biology-meets-technology video, Ray discusses the evolution of the brain and theorises that we will see another huge breakthrough very soon. He believes with the advancements in technology, specifically the size of technology (everything can be made smaller on a regular basis), that we will soon find a way to connect our minds with technology.
Manu Prakash – A 50 cent microscope that folds like origami
Sometimes the simplest of ideas and inventions can have a massive impact. Such is the case with Manu’s undeniably fun, clever and simple design. A paper-thin, foldable and affordable microscope. He describes the possible impacts that his microscope could have on third-world healthcare and how he and his crew came up with the idea in the first place.
Abe Davis – New video technology that reveals an object’s hidden properties
So this is actually a sort of follow-up on a previous TED video, in which Michael Rubinstein demonstrated how we have the ability to detect sound waves from videos of seemingly still objects, with many amazing (and some terrifying) potential uses. Abe shows how we can take this technology one step further.
Joe Landolina – This gel can stop you bleeding instantly
Joe asks the audience to imagine a soldier injured during combat, bleeding out with only three minutes to stop the bleeding using technology that takes five as well as an extra person. This happens more regularly than one might think, and Joe has the answer – a gel that starts to reassemble your skin and causes your body to form a clot almost instantly. And of course, this will revolutionise not only combat health-care but all of health-care!
Ben Ambridge – 10 myths about psychology, debunked
Do you believe that we only use (roughly) 10% of our brains? You should probably watch this video. Do you believe there are “visual learners” and “auditory learners”? You should probably watch this video. Do you believe the average left-handed person is more creative than the average right-handed person? You should probably… See where this is going?
Sarah Bergbreiter – Why I make robots the size of a grain of rice
Ants can pull over 50 times their weight, fleas can jump 200 times their length, tiny midgets can flap their wings 1,046 times per minute and a Tabanid fly (related to the Horsefly) can fly up to 90mph. So it seems pretty reasonable that we should want to replicate some of these characteristics into our own tiny robots. Well, they’re starting to!
Jeff Iliff – One more reason to get a good night’s sleep
Sleep is one of those things… We need it, but seemingly rarely get enough of it and up until now, we’ve never really understood why sleep seems to revitalise us and clear our minds to the extent it does. Well here is the most scientifically sound argument for the need to sleep that I’ve come across to date.
Barry Schuler – Genomics 101
The title of this TED talk really says it all – it’s a lesson in genomics. Barry gives us the low-down on what genomics is, how far we’ve been able to get in “mapping” the human body (amongst other things) and what we can expect to see in the future. The ability to figure out how diseases actually work so we can eradicate them, and create healthier, more nutritious food… It’s all right around the corner.