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TED Talks take to iPad

Perspective-shifting TED Talks took to culture-changing iPads with the release Thursday of an application that lets the popular videos be viewed on Apple's hot tablet computers.

An iPad app available free at Apple's online iTunes shop lets people access videos of presentations made at TED gatherings renowned for seeking ways to inspire fresh ideas and fight the world's ills.

"The iPad presents a thrilling new platform for delivering a TED experience," said TED media executive producer June Cohen.

"We rethought the user experience to take advantage of the portability, the touchscreen and the focused media time people have when they travel or settle in for an evening."

Application features include an "Inspire Me" icon that can be tapped to get a recommended playlist based on how much time is available for viewing and types of videos sought, such as "jaw-dropping" or funny.

"My money's on Saved Talks," TED iPad application developer Matt Drance said in a blog post about features in the program.

"The ability to hold onto some videos for offline viewing when I'm on a plane or train, or otherwise offline, is awesome."

TED talks have legions of followers on the Internet and have spread to television stations around the world.

A TED Open TV Project announced in San Francisco early this year marked the latest step in a transformation from a private gathering of brilliant minds to a public platform for people worldwide to collaborate on worthy ideas.

Annual Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conferences began 30 years ago in California as havens where elite thinkers got together to explore life from challenging or unusual perspectives.

Renowned scientists, political leaders, artists, entrepreneurs and musicians have taken to the stage at the technology-focused gatherings where 'curator' Chris Anderson urges speakers to give the "talk of their lives" in 18 minutes.

In 2006, TED began making video recordings of talks available free online at a TED.com website, spreading ideas from the conference free to a global audience.

While TED is known for grappling with bold subjects such as saving the world's oceans, its talks run the gamut of topics from whether genies should get credit for genius to a brain scientist recounting her own stroke.