Medicine is advancing at breakneck speed with high-tech discoveries being made almost daily. From 3D printing and artificial intelligence to laparoscopy and brain-computer interfaces, healthcare is chartering new technological territories to boost patient well-being.
Following the pipeline of new medical treatments is easier with engaging TED talks about advances in health technology. Whether you’re a physician, nurse, health administrator, bioengineer, or other medical professional, knowing about cutting-edge innovations is essential to keep your patient practices up-to-date.
Get informed on the latest advancements with the following 10 great TED talks on health technology.
1. Lee Cronin: Print Your Own Medicine
Lee Cronin, a pioneering chemist at the University of Glasgow, gives this short, three-minute TED talk to unveil his prototype for a 3D printer of molecules. Cronin describes how this technological innovation could easily download plans for molecular assembly and chemical cells he calls “Chells.” It’s his mission to apply this technology toward the discovery and distribution of more effective prescription medications. Lee Cronin likens the 3D printer to a search engine where life-saving drug chemistry could be embedded for fighting any new super bug.
2. Daniel Kraft: Medicine’s Future? There’s an App for That
As a board certified physician-scientist at Singularity University, Dr. Daniel Kraft utilized this TED talk to discuss the rapidly developing applications applied to healthcare. He highlights a significant number of cutting-edge apps that bring medicine to the mobile device. For example, 23andMe allows tested users to receive CLIA-certified genetic health reports to determine risk for conditions like diabetes or inherited breast cancer. Dr. Kraft also introduces his own FDA-approved MarrowMiner technology, which harvests bone marrow less invasively.
3. Steven Schwaitzberg: A Universal Translator for Surgeons
Steven Schwaitzberg, MD, the Chief of Surgery at the Cambridge Health Alliance, is a firm advocate for minimally invasive surgery. In this TED talk, he reiterates the techniques used to limit patients’ pain and recovery time after surgical procedures. Yet Dr. Schwaitzberg declares there’s a huge roadblock to teaching surgeons worldwide about minimally invasive incisions. He introduces his work with IBM to create a universal translator. This advancement allows surgeons to train via video conferences and receive real-time translation in their native tongue.
4. Mathieu Lehanneur: Science-Inspired Design
French designer Mathieu Lehanneur devotes this fascinating TED talk to presenting a selection of his ingenious inventions rooted in medical science. He launches his Andrea purifier, a high-tech terrarium that makes plants metabolize micro-toxins in air to improve breathing quality. Lehanneur discusses his “third lung” project, a long-term asthma treatment that reminds children to take it. Audiences will also learn of more useful advancements in health technology, including an entire antibiotic course layered into one pill and a nutritious indoor food farm.
5. Patience Mthunzi: Could We Cure HIV With Lasers?
It’s estimated that 78 million people worldwide have been infected with Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Swallowing pills for antiretroviral therapy is often the go-to treatment, but it isn’t always effective. In this TED talk, scientist Patience Mthunzi passionately suggests an alternative – lasers. At the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Pretoria, she developed a method for using laser “tweezers” to separate infected cells from healthy ones. Laser pulses could then deliver drugs directly to targeted, diseased cells.
6. Lucien Engelen: Crowdsource Your Health
Available in 31 languages, innovator Lucien Engelen’s six-minute TED talk shares how online communication technologies are revolutionizing medical care. He gives a broad overview of the latest advancements, including a blood pressure cuff connected to the iPhone and a mobile weight scale linked to Google Health. Engelen then introduces his own app called AED4EU for Layar: Augmented Reality. His innovation forms crowdsourced maps for quickly finding the nearest automated external defibrillator. The app displays the AED’s exact address for fast-action in medical emergencies.
7. Todd Coleman: A Temporary Tattoo That Brings Hospital Care Home
Boasting nearly 900,000 views, University of California-San Diego professor Todd Coleman’s TED talk portrays how wearable health technology could shorten hospital stays. He shares his bioengineering quest to create a flexible temporary tattoo that would transmit important health data electronically. Small integrated circuits embedded within the patch would be monitored remotely by the patient’s clinician. Coleman supports the device’s usefulness with the example of “Jane,” a high-risk pregnant woman who can’t afford staying at the hospital on bed rest until labor.
8. Anders Ynnerman: Visualizing the Medical Data Explosion
From the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC), Anders Ynnerman delivers this TED talk about the world’s medical data explosion. He depicts how today’s advanced imagine machines like CAT scans can take 24,000 images of a body in mere seconds. Reviewing and storing the approximate 20 gigabytes of data is a hefty burden on doctors. Luckily, Ynnerman has a list of sophisticated technologies being created to analyze testing results. One such jaw-dropping discovery is a mechanical pen allowing clinicians to actually “touch” data.
9. Catherine Mohr: Surgery’s Past, Present, and Robotic Future
Although it’s not ideal for the squeamish, roboticist Catherine Mohr’s TED talk gives a stunning glimpse into future surgical innovations. She begins by taking the audience back to surgery’s pre-anesthesia days with trephinated skulls and lithotomies. Mohr covers nearly 10,000 years of surgical history to current minimally invasive methods. She demonstrates the newest robotic tools that can repair intricate organs like the heart where human hands can’t. Catherine Mohr exhibits how robots and magnified vision systems will forever change the surgery experience.
10. Eric Topol: The Wireless Future of Medicine
Cardiologist Eric Topol from the Scripps Translational Science Institute centers this TED talk on the revolutionary ways wireless technology will be immersed in medicine. He introduces AirStrip Technologies, a mobile platform that delivers critical patient data to physicians’ smartphones. Topol foresees a future where glucose sensors, electrocardiograms, and sleep monitors go wireless for measuring physiologic metrics away from the hospital bedside. He also discusses how wearable, Band-Aid type technology could significantly aid the 140 million Americans with one or more chronic disease.
TED talks are exciting, meaningful presentations given by the industry’s foremost professionals that can greatly broaden your perspectives on healthcare. Audiences can access thousands of TED talks on highly diverse subjects for free and learn about successful projects from inspiring minds. Watching these 10 TED talks about advances in health technology may also spark your creativity to develop the next life-saving medical device.