playlist

The most jaw-dropping TED Talks

Enjoy these simply wow talks, which will have you thinking about the possibilities for hours.

  1. 19:00
    Hugh Herr The new bionics that let us run, climb and dance

    Hugh Herr is building the next generation of bionic limbs, robotic prosthetics inspired by nature's own designs. Herr lost both legs in a climbing accident 30 years ago; now, as the head of the MIT Media Lab's Biomechatronics group, he shows his incredible technology in a talk that's both technical and deeply personal — with the help of ballroom dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost her left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and performs again for the first time on the TED stage.

  2. 18:19
    Jill Bolte Taylor My stroke of insight

    Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

  3. 5:27
    David Gallo Underwater astonishments

    David Gallo shows jaw-dropping footage of amazing sea creatures, including a color-shifting cuttlefish, a perfectly camouflaged octopus, and a Times Square's worth of neon light displays from fish who live in the blackest depths of the ocean. This short talk celebrates the pioneering work of ocean explorers like Edith Widder and Roger Hanlon.

  4. 10:36
    Tan Le A headset that reads your brainwaves

    Tan Le's astonishing new computer interface reads its user's brainwaves, making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). She demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.

  5. 20:34
    David Eagleman Can we create new senses for humans?

    As humans, we can perceive less than a ten-trillionth of all light waves. "Our experience of reality," says neuroscientist David Eagleman, "is constrained by our biology." He wants to change that. His research into our brain processes has led him to create new interfaces — such as a sensory vest — to take in previously unseen information about the world around us.

  6. 16:46
    Vijay Kumar Robots that fly ... and cooperate

    In his lab at Penn, Vijay Kumar and his team build flying quadrotors, small, agile robots that swarm, sense each other, and form ad hoc teams — for construction, surveying disasters and far more.

  7. 17:40
    David Christian The history of our world in 18 minutes

    Backed by stunning illustrations, David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is "Big History": an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline.

  8. 15:14
    Arthur Benjamin A performance of "Mathemagic"

    In a lively show, mathemagician Arthur Benjamin races a team of calculators to figure out 3-digit squares, solves another massive mental equation and guesses a few birthdays. How does he do it? He’ll tell you.

  9. 10:45
    Joseph DeSimone What if 3D printing was 100x faster?

    What we think of as 3D printing, says Joseph DeSimone, is really just 2D printing over and over ... slowly. Onstage at TED2015, he unveils a bold new technique — inspired, yes, by Terminator 2 — that's 25 to 100 times faster, and creates smooth, strong parts. Could it finally help to fulfill the tremendous promise of 3D printing?

  10. 8:13
    Theo Jansen My creations, a new form of life

    Artist Theo Jansen demonstrates the amazingly lifelike kinetic sculptures he builds from plastic tubes and lemonade bottles. His creatures are designed to move — and even survive — on their own.

  11. 11:17
    Jorge Soto The future of early cancer detection?

    Along with a crew of technologists and scientists, Jorge Soto is developing a simple, noninvasive, open-source test that looks for early signs of multiple forms of cancer. Onstage at TEDGlobal 2014, he demonstrates a working prototype of the mobile platform for the first time.

  12. 3:26
    Camille Seaman Photos from a storm chaser

    Photographer Camille Seaman has been chasing storms for 5 years. In this talk she shows stunning, surreal photos of the heavens in tumult.