Drummer Queens, voice boxes for the mute, 21stC unions, AI that customises drugs for you: TED's 20 New Fellows

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We may be overfamiliar with TED, but it’s still an extraordinary institution, amassing audiences around well-presented stories from across human expertise. And its TED Fellows programme is often the best display of its creativity-and-solutions-oriented approach. With the thumbnails courtesy of Fast Company, here are their twenty fellows for 2019. Worth exploring and dwelling on.

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Muthoni Ndonga: Called “the Drummer Queen,” the Kenyan musician merges traditional drumming with traditional styles like hip-hop to create a compelling fusion genre for contemporary audiences.

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Hiromi Ozaki: Under the pseudonym Sputniko! the British-Japanese artist creates work that criticizes and explores the cultural, social, and ethical effects of new technologies. Her thesis project from London’s Royal College of Art, for instance, was a device that simulated the experience of menstruation so men could empathize with it.

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Alexis Gambis: Splitting his time between France and the U.S., Gambis uses his background as a scientist to make narrative films that discuss scientific phenomena in compelling ways.

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Ali Alibrahim: The Syrian journalist, now based in Sweden, reports on the Syrian conflict and creates films on the struggles of people living in the country.

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Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin: In the U.S., the history of black people is obscured in many ways, and, as a scholar and artist, Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin works to bring some of that history to light through theatrical performances.

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Arnav Kapur: For people who can’t speak, it’s difficult to navigate the world. This Indian-American inventor makes wearable AI devices that help translate thoughts people express–through minute internal vibrations in the face and jaw–into words.

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Ashwin Naidu: As a conservation biologist from India and now based in the U.S., Naidu founded a nonprofit dedicated to protecting endangered mangrove forests, which are hugely beneficial to the environment and crucial to the cat species that call them home.

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Brandon Anderson: In founding the tech nonprofit Raheem AI, the U.S.-based entrepreneur wants to help use big data, storytelling, and organizing to end police violence.

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Brandon Clifford: Through his work as the founder of the U.S.-based firm Matter Design, Clifford looks to apply ancient techniques and technologies to contemporary buildings and projects.

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Bruce Friedrich: Friedrich, based in the U.S., founded the Good Food Institute to research ways of developing plant-based and lab-grown meats to speed the switch to more sustainable food system.

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Christopher Bahl: As a molecular engineer in the U.S., Bahl is working on designing new protein drugs that could help fight infectious diseases.

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Erika Hamden: This American astrophysicist wants to improve the ability of people on Earth to observe far-off galaxies, and she’s developing both new ultraviolent detection technologies and telescopes to make that possible.

Federica Bianco: If you had doubts about the crossover of urban issues and astrophysics, this Italian researcher will quell them: Her work applies astrophysical imaging techniques to study urban issues like energy consumption, light variability, and pollution.

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Gangadhar Patil: In India, Patil launched 101Reporters, a nonprofit that connects grassroots journalists with major international publications to help highlight rural issues and storytelling.

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Ivonne Roman: In the U.S., the police force is overwhelmingly male. Roman cofounded the Women’s Leadership Academy to help tip the balance and bring more women into the profession.

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Jess Kutch: The U.S.-based Kutch founded Coworker.org as something of a 21st-century labor organization. On it, workers can help each other solve common workplace problems, and it’s helped the staff of Netflix, for instance, secure benefits like paid parental leave.

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Leila Pirhaji: Pirhaji’s company, ReviveMed, uses AI to develop personal drug therapies to treat difficult diseases. The Iran native founded it in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after finishing multiple degrees at MIT.

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Moreangels Mbizah: In her home country of Zimbabwe, Mbizah, who studied international wildlife conservation at Oxford, is at work developing community-based methods for protecting the native lion populations and their habitats.

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Moriba Jah: From his teaching post at the University of Texas at Austin, Jah has his sights set on space: He’s developing a sensor-based system to track and monitor satellites and space garbage to unsure we can continue to explore and study (and perhaps inhabit) that part of the universe.

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Nanfu Wang: Now based in New York, Wang creates character-driven documentaries about her native China, focusing on human rights issues, particularly sexual assault and violence against women