playlist

Toys!

What's more fun than a barrel of monkeys? These talks, which offer unique insights on the things we play with—from teddy bears to Legos to yo-yos.

  1. 14:16
    Jon Mooallem How the teddy bear taught us compassion

    In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt legendarily spared the life of a black bear — and prompted a plush toy craze for so-called "teddy bears." Writer Jon Mooallem digs into this toy story and asks us to consider how the tales we tell about wild animals have real consequences for a species' chance of survival — and the natural world at large.

  2. 5:50
    Hillel Cooperman LEGO for grownups

    LEGO blocks: playtime mainstay for industrious kids, obsession for many (ahem!) mature adults. Hillel Cooperman takes us on a trip through the beloved bricks' colorful, sometimes oddball grownup subculture, featuring CAD, open-source robotics and a little adult behavior.

  3. 9:23
    Brenda Romero Gaming for understanding

    It's never easy to get across the magnitude of complex tragedies — so when Brenda Romero's daughter came home from school asking about slavery, she did what she does for a living — she designed a game. She describes the surprising effectiveness of this game, and others, in helping the player really understand the story.

  4. 15:30
    Arvind Gupta Turning trash into toys for learning

    At the INK Conference, Arvind Gupta shares simple yet stunning plans for turning trash into seriously entertaining, well-designed toys that kids can build themselves — while learning basic principles of science and design.

  5. 5:22
    McKenna Pope Want to be an activist? Start with your toys

    McKenna Pope's younger brother loved to cook, but he worried about using an Easy-Bake Oven — because it was a toy for girls. So at age 13, Pope started an online petition for the American toy company Hasbro to change the pink-and-purple color scheme on the classic toy and incorporate boys into its TV marketing. In a heartening talk, Pope makes the case for gender-neutral toys and gives a rousing call to action to all kids who feel powerless.

  6. 5:25
    Saul Griffith High-altitude wind energy from kites!

    In this brief talk, Saul Griffith unveils the invention his new company Makani Power has been working on: giant kite turbines that create surprising amounts of clean, renewable energy.

  7. 18:27
    Caleb Chung Playtime with Pleo, your robotic dinosaur friend

    Pleo the robot dinosaur acts like a living pet — exploring, cuddling, playing, reacting and learning. Inventor Caleb Chung talks about Pleo and his wild toy career at EG07, on the week that Pleo shipped to stores for the first time.

  8. 5:27
    Ayah Bdeir Building blocks that blink, beep and teach

    Imagine a set of electronics as easy to play with as Legos. TED Fellow Ayah Bdeir introduces littleBits, a set of simple, interchangeable blocks that make programming as simple and important a part of creativity as snapping blocks together.

  9. 10:28
    BLACK My journey to yo-yo mastery

    Remember the days you struggled just to make a yo-yo spin, and if you were really fancy, to “walk the dog”? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Japanese yo-yo world champion BLACK tells the inspiring story of finding his life's passion, and gives an awesome performance that will make you want to pull your yo-yo back out of the closet.

  10. 13:15
    Jay Silver Hack a banana, make a keyboard!

    Why can't two slices of pizza be used as a slide clicker? Why shouldn't you make music with ketchup? In this charming talk, inventor Jay Silver talks about the urge to play with the world around you. He shares some of his messiest inventions, and demos MaKey MaKey, a kit for hacking everyday objects.

  11. 7:09
    David Merrill Toy tiles that talk to each other

    MIT grad student David Merrill demos Siftables — cookie-sized, computerized tiles you can stack and shuffle in your hands. These future-toys can do math, play music, and talk to their friends, too. Is this the next thing in hands-on learning?

  12. 18:42
    Paola Antonelli Why I brought Pac-Man to MoMA

    When the Museum of Modern Art's senior curator of architecture and design announced the acquisition of 14 video games in 2012, "all hell broke loose." In this far-ranging, entertaining, and deeply insightful talk, Paola Antonelli explains why she's delighted to challenge preconceived ideas about art and galleries, and describes her burning wish to help establish a broader understanding of design.