TEDYouth 2015 speaker lineup
Get to know the amazing scientists, designers, technologists, explorers, artists, performers (and more!) who will be speaking at TEDYouth 2015.
Ever wonder if there's life on Mars? Thanks to Adam Steltzner and his team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, we may find the answer. He and his team designed the sky crane that landed the Curiosity, a one-ton robotic rover, on Mars. Steltzner actually planned on becoming a rockstar -- until a chance encounter with the constellation Orion sparked his curiosity. He’ll tell his story in the upcoming book The Right Kind of Crazy: A True Story of Teamwork, Leadership and High Stakes Innovation.
Anna Kaufman is a junior at Windsor High School in Windsor, California, where she is the captain of the cross country and long-distance track teams and an active contributor to her school newspaper. She is obsessively organized--her bookshelf at home is alphabetized!--and loves to write and learn, both on and off the page. Some of Anna's biggest lessons have come from her teachers and older sister Leah, a junior at UC Berkeley.
Assaf Biderman is a technology inventor, author, and entrepreneur. He teaches at MIT, where he is the associate director of the SENSEable City Laboratory, working with Carlo Ratti to study the built environment of our cities. Biderman is the founder of Superpedestrian, a technology company about personal urban mobility. He teamed up with a group of veteran roboticists to develop the Copenhagen Wheel, which transforms a bicyle into a powered hybrid.
We all know your laptop can be hacked -- but how about your Jeep? Your pacemaker implant? Your medical history? Computer security expert Avi Rubin studies how hackers can exploit weaknesses in anything that has electronics ... and how we can protect ourselves. He's a professor of computer science and the technical director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University, where he also studies how to safeguard the integrity of electronic voting.
Betsy McIver Cho
At school, Betsy McIver studied both engineering and theatrical design; she loved to tinker and loved Disneyland. She combines all her passions in her job as an Associate Show Electronics Engineer at Walt Disney Imagineering, where she designs and engineers electronics systems for interactive attractions throughout the Disney theme parks, resorts, and cruise line. She has helped build attractions such as Goofy's Paint 'n' Play at Tokyo Disneyland, the interactive queue for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, and several attractions for the new Shanghai Disneyland Park.
Brandon Allen is 17 and a senior at Westland John Glenn High School in Michigan. A journalist and published writer, he's a leader in his local chapter of the student business organization DECA, and hopes to one day be a news anchor and eventually host a talk show. As he says, "Public speaking has always been something I loved and found comfort in doing. I'm always trying to raise the bar and find innovative ways to make speaking more engaging. Actor Rob Brown once said, 'If you can speak, you can influence. If you can influence you can change lives.' That statement has been and will continue to be a driving force in my life.
Surgeon and education pioneer Carla Pugh is leading the charge to make hands-on tests an integral part of medical training and assessment. In her lab, she's developed a system using patient models--built from everyday household items like lima beans, cardboard, and badminton birdies--with sensors attached to them to develop med students' tactile skills. Carla directs the Clinical Simulation Program at the University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics.
Caleb Harper directs the MIT CityFARM at MIT's Media Lab, where he uses "food computers" to grow a variety of crops in controlled environments, allowing urban farmers to grow anything anywhere. Harper recently launched the Open Agriculture Initiative, so that innovative farming methods can be shared with everyone through open-source technology.
Ever stop and think about how the objects around you make you feel? As a product designer and creative consultant in Smart Design's Interaction Lab, Carla Diana spends her days exploring the impact of future technologies through hands-on experiments. Her projects have included designing domestic robots, wearable devices and sentient kitchen appliances that all come to life electronically. In her lab, she looks at how things like lights, sounds, and motion can help shape a robot's personality and how humans relate to it.
Carlo Ratti is a civil engineer and architect who teaches at MIT, where he directs the SENSEable City Laboratory, working with Assaf Biderman. This lab studies the environment of cities -- from street grids to plumbing and garbage systems -- using new kinds of sensors to gather data that help us understand the cities we live in. Other projects of his flip the equation, using data gathered from sensors to actually create dazzling new environments. The Digital Water Pavilion, for instance, reacts to visitors by parting a stream of water to let them walk through its "walls," while a project for the 2012 Olympics in London turns a pavilion into a cloud of blinking interactive art.
Chelsea Ha is deeply passionate about the environment. She is building her own weather balloon to take images of the atmosphere and collecting data like temperature, humidity, and air pressure, to help raise awareness around climate change. At 15, she thinks it's never too early to start thinking about how we can take better care of our planet, and she uses her public speaking skills to inspire others to take action as well.
Danit Peleg is a fashion designer based in Tel Aviv, Israel, who created the world's first 3D-printed fashion collection this year, for her graduate degree at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. After 9 months of experimenting with different printers and materials and 2,000 hours of printing, she produced a full collection -- including shoes! -- that can be printed by anyone using an at-home 3D printer.
Elaine Y. Hsiao
Inspired by the amazing and complex interactions between our body's systems, Dr. Elaine Y. Hsiao studies how our immune system and nervous system connect -- and in particular, the role of our little-understood "microbiome," the colonies of trillions of microbes that live in our bodies, and that may play a large role in how we feel and behave. For her PhD, she studied the neurobiological bases of autism and schizophrenia, and how neuroimmune and microbial changes contribute to behavioral disorders. Now she and her lab are studying how peripheral changes in the immune system and resident microbiota impact the nervous system. And yes, the URL of her lab is really...poo.caltech.edu.
What if our limits are only an illusion? Welcome to the Zone of the Experimentalist. Gerard Senehi is an expert in making the impossible seem possible. He can make a wine glass bend, make a pencil levitate, even predict the future. But don't try asking him how he does it. Believe it or don’t … you'll have to see for yourself to decide what's real.
Only 10 years old, Ishita Katyal is the youngest organizer of a TEDxYouth event in the Asia-Pacific region. She believes success comes from wanting happiness in the present moment, and shares that message during weekly workshops she leads with children at a local Balewadi school. She loves to read and write in her spare time. When she was only 8 years old, Ishita wrote a book called Simran's Diary that is now available on Amazon.
Jen Ziemke is a crisis mapper, part of a movement that uses on-the-ground data like photos and GPS coordinates to create interactive maps that help us understand a fast-developing crisis. Crisis mapping has helped guide global response to the Libyan Civil War in 2011, the earthquake in Haiti, and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Jen was a Peace Corps volunteer on the Namibian side of the Angolan border during the
Jessica Brillhart is the principal filmmaker for Jump, Google Cardboard’s new camera technology that knits together 16 different videos into a 360-degree view of the world. Her job is to dive into the possibilities of this technology -- how can it tell amazing never-before-told stories in brand-new ways? She directed Jump's first VR film, World Tour, and now travels the globe to explore new ways of storytelling.
An underwater filmmaker and photographer, Jill Heinerth has dived deeper into the planet than any woman in history and was the first person to swim inside Antarctica's iceberg caves. She combines her artistic talent with a passion for underwater exploration and cutting-edge technology, to produce images of never-before-seen places. She has helped develop training for underwater divers, and uses her documentaries to educate the public about water.
You may know Joey Mazzarino better as Murray Monster, Stinky the Stinkweed, and Papa Bear; he was a puppeteer and writer on Sesame Street for many years, starting in 1989. His song "I Love My Hair," a tribute to his daughter, became a viral sensation with more than 5 million views on YouTube. Now a head writer, Mazzarino has been nominated for several Daytime Emmys. He’s also worked on Sheep in the Big City and Bear in the Big Blue House.
Magda Sayeg is known as the "mother of yarn bombing," a kind of street art that involves covering everyday objects like stop signs, pipes, and lampposts with knit and crochet work made from brightly colored yarn and contrasting patterns. She loves using handmade, eye-catching yarn bombs to shake up the way we see the world around us -- and maybe even make us notice things we hadn't seen before.
Marian Hill is an American songwriting duo from Philadelphia, made up of production artist Jeremy Lloyd and vocalist Samantha Gongol, and featuring saxophonist Steve Davit. In 2015, they released released the album 'Sway,' which has been taking off on Spotify and Vine. Their music combines R&B, electronica and saxophone-heavy jazz to create a sultry, classic sound that's guaranteed to get stuck in your head.
Marta Botet Borràs
Marta Botet Borràs has been surrounded by books ever since she can remember. At age 11, she started her own blog to share her favorite book recommendations; soon after, she started posting video reviews on YouTube. (Her “booktube” channel is the first video book review series in the Catalan language.) She also shares her latest book recommendations on Catalan TV and radio.
Mick Ebeling is founder of the Not Impossible Foundation, an organization with a mission to take ideas that once seemed impossible to possible, when the right people are connected and empowered. Through his latest initiative, Project Daniel, he helped create a 3D-printed prosthetic lab in Sudan. Another project was inspired by the street artist Tempt, who has ALS; Ebeling and a team of programmers, hackers, artists and inventors developed the EyeWriter, a low-cost eye-tracking device that allows artists to draw using only their eyes. His new book is Not Impossible: The Art and Joy of Doing What Couldn't Be Done.
Nicole Paris & Ed Cage
Nicole Paris and her father, Ed Cage, became an overnight sensation when their beatbox battle video “Mentor vs. Apprentice Part 2” went viral. With 2.5 million views, Nicole was voted the winner by popular acclaim. The father-daughter duo held a public re-match on ABC's Good Morning America -- where Nicole "The Apprentice" Paris once again beat her father. But judging by the beaming grin on "The Mentor's" face, there's no sweeter way for a proud father to lose.
Parker Goldstein is a senior at Choate Rosemary Hall, where he’s a second baseman on the varsity baseball team; he was recently recruited to play at Oberlin next year. He also acted in his high school's productions of As You Like It and The Diary of Anne Frank. Outside of school, he’s interned for Governor Cuomo, flipped burgers at Mount Cisco Burger Joint, and volunteered for Meals on Wheels.
Imagine flying in a plane with someone who's sick and sneezing. Don't you worry about breathing the same air they do? Young inventor Raymond Wang came up with a brand-new way to circulate fresh air on planes that reduces the transmission of germs from passenger to passenger by up to 190%. For this invention, the 17-year-old Canadian student won the top prize at the 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the largest pre-college research fair in the world. He's been an inventor since he was 12, and is the founder of RayCorp.
Trees can't get up and move in response to changing climates, but their genes can be transplanted. At the University of British Columbia, Sally Aitken and her team of researchers as part of the AdapTree project are studying tree DNA to understand how trees adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions. Their research will guide reforestation efforts, matching trees with habitats where they may have a better chance of thriving, and producing new varietals in the face of projected climate change.
2016 TED Prize winner Sarah Parcak uses satellite imagery to discover ancient, previously unknown archaeological sites. Sarah and her husband, fellow Egyptologist Greg Mumford, work together on the Surveys and Excavation Projects in Egypt, which includes archaeological projects in the Delta, Sinai, and pyramid fields regions of Egypt. Her research has been featured in two major BBC-Discovery Chanel documentaries: "Egypt: What Lies Beneath” and "Rome's Lost Empire." Parcak is the author of Satellite Remote Sensing for Archaeology, the first textbook about how to do satellite archaeology. She is a TED Senior Fellow, and she just won the $1 million TED Prize to support her work.