TED Blog

Mathematics gets down to work in these talks, breathing life and logic into everyday problems. Prepare for math puzzlers both solved and unsolvable, and even some still waiting for solutions.

Ron Eglash: The fractals at the heart of African designs
When Ron Eglash first saw an aerial photo of an African village, he couldn’t rest until he knew — were the fractals in the layout of the village a coincidence, or were the forces of mathematics and culture colliding in unexpected ways? Here, he tells of his travels around the continent in search of an answer.

How big is infinity?
There are more whole numbers than there are even numbers … right? Actually, there aren’t. This TED-Ed talk makes it crystal clear why not, in a lesson on the infinite infinities and math’s unanswerable questions.

Arthur Benjamin does “Mathemagic”
A whole team of calculators is no match for Arthur Benjamin…

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TechCrunch

3D systems has filed a lawsuit against both Formlabs and Kickstarter for patent infringement. Formlabs is the manufacturer of a low-cost 3D printer called the Form 1. Thanks to the stereolithography printing technique, the Form 1 can achieve professional grade 3D printing in a small hobbyist printer. It quickly became a Kickstarter success. Yet, in 1997 3D Systems patented stereolithography applications and now wants reparation from Formlabs, and Kickstarter who promoted the printer.

The Kickstarter fundraising campaign topped $1.4 million in pre-orders in just under a week, making it one of the notable successes of the platform. Formlabs ultimately raised $2,945,885. Kickstarter is financially involved as it takes a 5 percent cut on each campaign, according to the BBC.

Instead of using traditional melting techniques, Formlabs has opted for the “gold standard” in 3D printing — stereolithography, a high-precision positioning system designed to solidify plastics. It allows you…

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Gigaom

LG, the South Korean electronics manufacturer, has introduced its first Smart Thinq connected appliance last week in its home country with a refrigerator that knows what’s inside it. The appliance can even communicate with your phone. According to an LG spokesman, a similar connected fridge will launch in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of this year or in the first quarter of next. Your kitchen is about to get a similar level of connectivity as your living room.

The Smart Thinq refrigerator got a lot of press last year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as smart appliances were all the rage. At the time the press was excited by the Android-based(s goog) OS that enabled the fridge to communicate with your smartphone and share information like the contents of the fridge. The idea was that when someone got home from the grocery store they could choose…

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Gigaom

Microsoft (s MSFT) has unveiled details of an experimental small data center that it’s building next to a waste water treatment plant in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The tiny data center will be powered by a fuel cell that uses biogas from the water facility, and Microsoft will use the test project to learn how it can scale clean power resources for its other large data centers, and also to figure out how to enable its data centers to become less reliant on the power grid.

In an interview last week, Microsoft’s Senior Research Project Manager, Sean James, described the new “Data Plant” project as “a symbiotic relationship between a water plant and data center.” Microsoft says the Data Plant is “the first zero carbon data center,” and is the first data center to use biogas directly for a fuel cell to power a data center.

Data Plant stats

So what exactly…

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TechCrunch

Several months ago, we found out that a company co-founded by Apple’s former CEO John Sculley and a couple of hardware veterans who make those iPhone-connected glucose meters popular with diabetics were working on some stealth wearable computing concepts. Their company Misfit Wearables raised $7.6 million in a round led by Founders Fund and Khosla Ventures back in April.

Now we’re finally getting a peek at a close-to-finished product.

Called Shine, Misfit Wearables’ first device is a sleek activity tracker that records how much you’re moving like the FitBit or Nike’s Fuelband do.

The form factor is simple and elegant. The Shine is a small, circular disc that’s about the size of a quarter. It has an all-metal, aluminum casing that took the company months to perfect.

The company’s CEO Sonny Vu tells us they actually had to figure out how to micro-drill about 3,000 holes into the Shine to…

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