TED2010: What the world needs now

Your inbox is about to become a lot fuller. The TED2010 conference just wrapped up in Long Beach, California, wowing audiences with a wide range of ideas. As always, the talks will be available online, in easy-to-forward bite-sized chunks.

The first video became available just last week (Feb. 15): an incredible tour of Microsoft’s new “augmented-reality” mapping software by programmer Blaise Aguera y Arcas.

The tour of the new features in Microsoft’s Bing Maps focused on the three dimensional street view, similar to GoogleMaps’ high-profile imagery. “We see this 3D environment as a canvas on which all sorts of applications can play out,” says Arcas. Like Google, Microsoft has been trolling the cities of the continent filming streets not only from the roof of a car, but also with a “back-pack camera”.

Microsoft’s big leap forward is their use of user-created content, such as geo-tagged photos from Flickr, to augment the map view from different angles and locations.  Arcas calls it “crowd-source mapping.” The digital content is sewn into the fabric of the 3D map environment using software from Sea Dragon.

Arcas presented a demonstration from Seattle’s Pike Place Market, where live film footage of the market was embedded into the map Arcas was looking at. His friends in Seattle could wave at him through the map.

Expect more videos on the TED site over the next few weeks. Current Tweets and blogs from TED2010 have people excited about entomologist Cheryl Hayashi’s talk on the uses for spider silk. Another highlight promises to be the performance by ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro.

The TEDTalks videos have evolved into memes that set the standard for the proliferation of new ideas. Check out the videos as they hit the web here.