Themes Tales of Invention

Tales of Invention An experimental French multiplane prepares for a flight attempt in the 1890s.

TED has always loved a good creation story. No matter the scale -- kitchen, continent, or solar system -- invention grants us access to the frontiers of our understanding.

Legendary designer Philippe Starck's lively ruminations on his own creative process suggest how the patterns of a civilization might affect, say, the design of a citrus juicer. Jan Chipchase investigates the worldwide impact of mobile phones -- and the impact of culture on next-generation mobile technology. Explorer and adventurer Bill Stone, meanwhile, fires up a rapt audience with his ambitious plan to harvest energy from the moon.

Copyright lawyer Larry Lessig gives a brief history of creative freedom and copyright, and talks about how contemporary copyright law could strangle future artistic invention and interpretation. William Kamkwamba tells how he built a windmill from scrap metal when he was 14 years old. And Amy Smith shares her transformative low-tech tools for saving life in the developing world.

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