Admit it, lasers are pretty cool. Discover the awesome, ingenious ways these beams of light are being used to fight against malaria and HIV, scan ancient monuments ... and even edit memory.

  1. 4:25
    Patience Mthunzi Could we cure HIV with lasers?

    Swallowing pills to get medication is a quick, painless and often not entirely effective way of treating disease. A potentially better way? Lasers. In this passionate talk, TED Fellow Patience Mthunzi explains her idea to use lasers to deliver drugs directly to cells infected with HIV. It's early days yet, but could a cure be on the horizon?

  2. 15:25
    Steve Ramirez and Xu Liu A mouse. A laser beam. A manipulated memory.

    Can we edit the content of our memories? It's a sci-fi-tinged question that Steve Ramirez and Xu Liu are asking in their lab at MIT. Essentially, the pair shoot a laser beam into the brain of a living mouse to activate and manipulate its memory. In this unexpectedly amusing talk they share not only how, but — more important — why they do this.

  3. 16:58
    Nathan Myhrvold Could this laser zap malaria?

    Nathan Myhrvold and team's latest inventions — as brilliant as they are bold — remind us that the world needs wild creativity to tackle big problems like malaria. And just as that idea sinks in, he rolls out a live demo of a new, mosquito-zapping gizmo you have to see to believe.

  4. 13:50
    Greg Asner Ecology from the air

    What are our forests really made of? From the air, ecologist Greg Asner uses a spectrometer and high-powered lasers to map nature in meticulous kaleidoscopic 3D detail — what he calls "a very high-tech accounting system" of carbon. In this fascinating talk, Asner gives a clear message: To save our ecosystems, we need more data, gathered in new ways.

  5. 12:20
    Ben Kacyra Ancient wonders captured in 3D

    Ancient monuments give us clues to astonishing past civilizations — but they're under threat from pollution, war, neglect. Ben Kacyra, who invented a groundbreaking 3D scanning system, is using his invention to scan and preserve the world's heritage in archival detail. (Watch to the end for a little demo.)