2005 TED Prize winners from left: medical inventor Robert Fischell, musician and activist Bono, photographer Edward Burtynsky
Inventor who has saved countless lives
Robert Fischell is, in the words of his nominator, “a great physicist, a great scientist, a great inventor, and, most important, a great human being.” The holder of more than 200 US and foreign patents, Fischell began his work in space development, including the creation of a 16-satellite system called Transit that was a key precursor to GPS. Fischell’s true genius is his ability to see across technologies and sciences. His uncanny intuition allowed him to invent special features of the implantable cardiac defibrillator that has saved more than 60,000 lives — followed by the implantable insulin pump, coronary stents used to open clogged arteries, and two extraordinary feedback systems that provide early warning of epileptic seizures and heart attacks.
Robert Fischell’s Wishes
- Help me discover new cures for brain disorders utilizing a responsive neurostimulator computer device implanted into the cranial bone connected by wires to electrodes in the brain.
- Create the final design for a portable Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS) that can erase a migraine headache without drugs.
- Create a Brain Trust to rethink our approach to medical liability.
Where We Are Now
After initial prototyping phases, the Neuralieve Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS) looked more like a weapon then a device meant to sooth and alleviate pain. With help from IDEO, Fischell did a second-generation redesign of the TMS, which completed its clinical trial in June and has been submitted to the FDA for approval to manufacture for commercial sale. Fischell hopes the device will be on the market by early 2009.
Musician whose activism has changed lives across the world
It is an extraordinary fact that the lead singer with the world’s biggest rock band is also our generation’s most persuasive champion of the downtrodden. Irreverent, funny, iconoclastic and relentless, Bono has become stunningly effective in bringing the world’s most powerful leaders to take seriously the problems of AIDS and African poverty. In 2002, he co-founded DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa). Two years later DATA helped create ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty history and the two combined operations under the name ONE in 2008. Many credit Bono as the driving force behind the US government’s recent dramatic increase in AIDS funding. And no one who has heard him speak about “our generation’s greatest challenge” can come away unmoved. In Bono’s own words: “What are the blind spots of our age? It might be something as simple as our deep down refusal to believe that every human life has equal worth. Could that be it? Could that be it?”
- I wish for you to help build a social movement of more than 1 MILLION American activists for Africa.
- I wish to tell people ONE BILLION times about ONE, with as much of this as possible before the G8 Africa Summit in July 2005.
- I wish for you to show the power of information — its power to rewrite the rules and to transform lives — by connecting every hospital, health clinic, and school in one African country, Ethiopia, to the Internet.
Where We Are Now
ONE has been successfully raising public awareness and advocating on issues such as global poverty, hunger, and disease since its inception. In February 2008, ONE members delivered more than 100,000 petitions to the presidential candidates urging them to visit Africa during their first term if elected. In response, Sens. McCain and Obama agreed to make that visit. During the summer of 2008, nearly 100,000 ONE members called on Congress to move the U.S. global AIDS strategy [PEPFAR] forward and not let it get caught up in partisan politics. The bill was stalled in the Senate, but concerted grassroots advocacy helped to push the Senate to an overwhelmingly successful vote.
Photo-artist revealing humankind’s impact on the environment
More than 30 years ago, Edward Burtynsky worked in mines and auto manufacturing plants, giving him direct exposure to industry and the world’s growing demand for resources. During that time, Burtynsky began shooting large-format color photographs; images that captured views of the earth altered by mankind; blasted quarries and mines, a landscape plundered and then abandoned. Burtynsky has explored the impact of our expanding footprint and how it has begun reshaping the surface of the planet in very profound ways. Burtynsky’s images are simultaneously beautiful and deeply shocking.
Edward Burtynsky’s Wishes
- I wish my artwork could persuade millions of people to join a global conversation about sustainability
- I wish we could launch a ground-breaking competition that motivates kids to invent new ideas in sustainable living.
- I wish I could create an IMAX film that would make my work accessible to a broader audience.
Where We Are Now
Ed Burtynsky’s 2005 wish launched as The GREENS in 2007, a web site for kids about environmental issues. It is syndicated through PBS and TV Ontario and has reached hundreds of thousands of kids with its action-oriented blogs, games and original animations. By its first birthday, the site celebrated 3 million page views. The site has won a Parents Choice award and a NAPPA Gold award and can be found at pbskids.org/greens. A recent grant from the ESA Foundation will allow new production of green-themed games in 2009.