TED2011 – Highlights from the most recent conference

TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) conferences were founded in 1984 as a one-off event with an early emphasis on technology and design, consistent with a Silicon Valley center of gravity. The events are now held in the U.S. as well as in Europe and Asia, offering live streaming of the talks. They address an increasingly wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture. The speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways.

Despite the strong presence from the Bio-medical, Neuroscience, Genomics, and AI spectrum, there was no real highlight placed on Life Extension. Since attendance at TED is by invitation only, we can only hope that future conferences will include discussions from gerontologists, longevity experts and anti-aging researchers to help spread the word about one of the greatest problems facing humanity.

Here are some highlights from  the conference:

Anthony Atala shows a kidney that was printed earlier in the day. Anthony Atala asks, “Can we grow organs instead of transplanting them?” His lab at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is doing just that — engineering over 30 tissues and whole organs.

Eythor Bender brings out Amanda Boxtel, a wheelchair user wearing an astonishing new exoskeleton. She is walking.

Jack Horner describes his work to recreate a living dinosaur from the genes of an unlikely ancestor: What we’re trying to do is take our chicken, modify it, and make a chickenosaurus.

Harvey Fineberg argues for “neo-evolution: the new evolution that is not simply natural, but guided and chosen by us as individuals.”

Daniel Tammet is a high-functioning autistic savant, has synesthesia, and has an astonishing brain. “Personal perceptions are at the heart of how we acquire knowledge.”

See more highlights at the Ted Conference main site.

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