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TED Talk Lessons are created by TED-Ed using phenomenal TED Talks. Do you have an idea for a lesson? Create it now using any video from YouTube »

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  • Speaker George Whitesides


Additional Resources for you to Explore
For more information on George Whitesides, see his profile. Now that so many things are open-source and the maker movement is taking off, simple technology is literally at your fingertips. See this TED Talk: Massimo Banzi helped invent the Arduino, a tiny, easy-to-use open-source microcontroller that's inspired thousands of people around the world to make the coolest things they can imagine -- from toys to satellite gear. Because, as he says, "You don't need anyone's permission to make something great." This TED Talk is all about designing for simplicity: The MIT Media Lab's John Maeda lives at the intersection of technology and art, a place that can get very complicated. Here he talks about paring down to basics. John Hodgman, comedian and resident expert, "explains" the design of three iconic modern objects. littleBits is an opensource library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun. littleBits (spelled lower case L, upper case B, all one word) consists of tiny circuit-boards with specific functions engineered to snap together with magnets. No soldering, no wiring, no programming, just snap together for prototyping, learning and fun. Each bit has a specific function (light, sound, sensors, buttons, thresholds, pulse, motors, etc), and modules snap to make larger circuits. Just as LEGO™ allows you to create complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are small, simple, intuitive, blocks that make creating with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together. See the video here. This amazing kid made a simple design using the technology at his disposable: In the Masai community where 13-year-old Richard Turere lives, cattle are all-important. But lion attacks were growing more frequent. In this short, inspiring talk, the young inventor shares the solar-powered solution he designed to safely scare the lions away.