I'm here at TED2013 in Long Beach, jacked up on amazing coffee and mind-blowing ideas from today's 4-minute TED fellow talks (the longer 18-minute talks start tomorrow).
I was only part-way through the first day when I had to take a moment to track down Baile Zhang, an assistant professor of physics at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, who had demonstrated his "invisibility cloak." Now I'll admit, when I first heard of Zhang's invention, I pictured - against common sense - an invisibility cloak similar to the one Professor Dumbledore gave to Harry Potter. So I was a little surprised when the cloak looked more like a tiny clear plastic box just a few inches high, reminding me of a magic trick prop my 9-year-old daughter might have. Nevertheless, the cloak's ability to conceal an object so that both the cloak and the object become invisible was astonishing. Zhang placed the cloak over a bright pink Post-it note and voila! Nothing! The pink paper disappeared. And the cloak itself wasn't really visible in the first place.
I found 31-year-old Zhang in the auditorium, watching other TED Fellows talk. He told me the cloak is made out of two pieces of calcite, or optical crystals - found in nature - that are cemented together. The calcite bends light and suppresses shadows, creating the effect of, well, nothingness. When I asked him what his big plans were with this reality-bending invention, he said it had no purpose. He just created it for fun. He does, however, plan to make it bigger. How big? "As large as possible." The idea came to him in 2010, and today was the first time he's shown it to a live audience.
Above: a video of the invisibility cloak taken before today. I have to say, today's demonstration was even more spectacular, but this is still pretty amazing.
Carla enjoyed Danny Hillis’ presentation at TED2013. Here’s how he began the talk: So, this book that I have in my hand is a directory of everybody who had an email address in 1982. (Laughter) Actually, it’s deceptively large. There’s actually only about 20 people on each page, because we have the name, address and […]
Amanda Palmer’s talk about “the art of asking” was one of Carla’s favorites at TED2013. The video is now up and has been watched 750,000 times since it was posted a couple of days ago. Amanda Palmer commands attention. The singer-songwriter-blogger-provocateur, known for pushing boundaries in both her art and her lifestyle, made international headlines […]
Every talk this week had a message that could help us shape our personal lives as well as the bigger world around us. I want to conclude my TED coverage with four talks that resonated most with me. The over-arching takeaway here was that obstacles give us the opportunity to think, problem-solve, and create something […]
SitePoint Premium is the ultimate e-learning library for web developers, designers, and digital professionals. Famous for their web development books written by industry leaders, they’ve expanded their content library to include in-depth video courses and short, handy screencasts partnering with A Book Apart and UX Mastery. Whatever you want to achieve in your web career, […]
Skip the technical jargon and get right to taking amazing, professional-quality photos with this complete training. The Hollywood Art Institute Photography Course includes 22 modules filled with tutorials on how to profit off of your photography, or simply capture your memories in the manner they deserve.Accredited by the Photography Education Accreditation CouncilDive into this 22 […]
Power up your gadgets in the most unexpected places with the extremely compact SolarJuice battery pack. SolarJuice charges up at home like your average battery pack, but also lets you add extra juice on-the-go using its built-in solar panel—so you’ll never be left unplugged from the digital world.4.5 Stars on Amazon!Simultaneously charges 2 devices at […]