June 23, 2015
TED talk auditorium

“Ideas worth spreading” is the slogan behind TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design), a weeklong conference that is held twice each year. Each conference consists of more than fifty talks given by a group of truly clever and influential innovators from all over the world. In our search for new ways to improve the communications industry through solid products and increased value to the customer, we at magicJack find these talks to be inspiring. Here are some of our favorites from the most recent TED conference that focus on creative and innovative technology.

 

What if 3D printing was 100x faster?

3D printing sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. In fact, a scene from Terminator 2 was the inspiration for the technique described and demonstrated on stage by Joseph DeSimone at this year’s TED conference. After watching the T-1000 form out of a puddle of silver liquid, DeSimone and his fellow engineers wondered if it would be possible to create a 3D printer that operated in a similar fashion. The result is a 3D printer that grows an object continuously, rather than one layer at a time, and it works 25 to 100 times faster than traditional 3D printers.

 

Can technology create new senses for humans?

David Eagleman shared fascinating technology that can substitute one sense for another, and possibly even add entirely new senses to the human experience. He spoke about the complexity of the human brain and how effective the brain is at adapting and using the information it is given. This adaptability makes it possible to substitute one sense for another. For example, Eagleman demonstrated a sensory vest that can help the deaf to understand spoken language. He claims that the vest may also be able to help wearers have a direct experience of data streams that would normally be imperceptible to humans, such as the digitized movements of the stock market.

 

How computers are being taught to understand pictures

Most are familiar with the concept of artificial intelligence, but just how intelligent are modern computers? Fei-Fei Li highlights one way in which computers have continued to lag far behind human intelligence—the ability to understand pictures. With the help of a database of 15 million pictures, her team is teaching computers not only to identify objects within pictures, but also to describe what is happening in each picture with simple sentences. She theorizes that this technology will someday help doctors to diagnose diseases and cars to drive more safely.

 

New video technology reveals an object’s hidden properties

Another computer scientist, Abe Davis, is more interested in video than still photographs. He is studying the way objects vibrate in response to sound. The technology he showcased is able to recreate sound from silent video by picking up on vibrations that are typically too minute for the human eye to detect. He also demonstrated how this technology could be used to further explore, and even interact with the properties of objects captured on film.

 

Everyone has a story the world needs to hear

Dave Isay demonstrated how current existing technology can be put to new uses. In 2003, Isay opened the first StoryCorps booth in the Grand Central Terminal in New York. Inside this booth, anyone can record an interview with anyone else. It became a way to honor another person’s memories. The interviews have been stored in a database that has become the world’s largest collection of human voices. Now Isay wants to bring StoryCorps to the whole world through an app that allows anyone with an Apple or Android device to capture an interview and preserve the memories and voice of another person.

These five talks represent just a small portion of the fascinating ideas that are annually presented at TED conferences. To catch up on more of the latest advances in technology, as well as a wealth of other stimulating topics, check out the TED website. You are sure to find a few ideas that are indeed worth spreading.

If you’re interested in some of the ways that magicJack is working to improve VoIP phone calls while significantly reducing costs, check out the magicJack website.