Prosthetic limbs that match your body … and your style:  Industrial designer Scott Summit uses 3D printing technology to create individualized artificial limbs that users can choose and personalize to fit their unique style.

In a talk at TEDxCambridge, Summit explains how this process not only gives users autonomy over the aesthetics of their prosthetics, but also makes for artificial limbs that factor in the quirks, curves, and uniqueness of a user’s body, eliminating the need for prosthetic-wearers to hack their artificial limbs — with socks, bubble wrap, even duct tape — to feel comfortable. Watch the whole talk here»

Above, photos of some of the creations made by Summit’s design firm, Bespoke Innovations.

You’ve probably heard of kombucha tea — that bubbly, fermented, sorta vingeary drink lining the shelves of your health food store. But did you know it can make clothes?

If you’re science-loving fashion designer Suzanne Lee, you know. She coaxes the bacteria in the drink to expel a material for designing clothes.

How? "Tea, sugar, a few microbes and a little time," she says in her talk at TED2011. “I’m essentially using a kombucha recipe,” she says, “which is a symbiotic mix of bacteria, yeasts and other micro-organisms, which spin cellulose in a fermentation process. Over time, these tiny threads form in the liquid into layers and produce a mat on the surface.” Watch the whole talk here»

Above, some of Suzanne’s creations made from her kombucha-based material as part of the BioCouture research project.

And for a super cool complement to this talk, check out this talk from TEDxVienna about fabric … you spray on.

(All photos Suzanne Lee & BioCouture)

A lamp that tells a story: London-based artist Yu “Jordy” Fu uses the traditional Chinese art of paper cutting to create intricate, whimsical, and gorgeous paper lamps that showcase 3-D architectural landscapes.

In a talk at TEDxTokyo, Yu talks about her process and shows how she uses the world around us to inspire her designs.

Watch the whole talk here»

(Photos: Yu “Jordy” Fu)

Learn more in this TEDx Talk from Hamish Jolly, who worked with scientists in Australia to develop research-based wetsuits»

When the number of shark attacks in western Australia rose dramatically, Hamish turned to nature for inspiration to create shark-repelling wetsuits.

How?

  1. A very stripey wetsuit that mimics the natural shark attack repellent of the pilot fish, whose distinct black and white markings signal do-not-eat to a shark.

  2. By using research on the limits of sharks’ visual abilities to create a wetsuit whose carefully-chosen colors allow humans to blend in seamlessly with ocean water.

Watch the whole talk here»

(Pilot fish photo via Flickr user star5112)