TED: Tod Machover from MIT

The most extraordinary presentation. Truly. Tod Machover describes himself as a composer, inventor and educator and he just blew the socks off the entire TED crowd. He works at MIT Media Lab on his thesis: that music can make the world a better place. And while he’s worked with musicians such as cellist Yo Yo Ma, Prince and Peter Gabriel, he’s not in any way elitist. His team were behind the development of the Guitar Hero interface (hear Matt Vella’s podcast with the company’s co-founder here ). Machover is also applying music in a healthcare/medical context. Music can be one of the last things that Alzheimer’s patients respond to, and Machover and his team have been working with residents at the Tewksbury Hospital, just outside of Boston. Dan Ellsey has cerebral palsy and lives at the hospital, and he left Massachussetts for only the second time ever to come to Monterey and demonstrate his use of specially created software that interprets his gestures and intentions to create music. Ellsey already uses gestures in order to activate his speaking computer, and this was the next step. He gave a performance of his own composition, My Eagle Song, accompanied by abstract visuals created by another MIT student. And it blew everyone away.

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