Innovation

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Natural disasters do not destroy buildings evenly. By studying which fall and which are left standing, engineers can develop new strategies for the future.

When a Natural Disaster Hits, Structural Engineers Learn From the Destruction

StEER engineers assess why some buildings survive hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis, and why others do not

The microCOVID project was started by a group of friends and housemates who wanted to be more equitable about safety precautions.

Innovation for Good

This Calculator Estimates Your Risk of Getting Covid-19

The online tool draws on recent data to approximate your chances of contracting the virus in different scenarios

Can a machine be taught to understand the plant world?

Innovation for Good

Is This Weed-Spotting, Yield-Predicting Rover the Future of Farming?

The robot, developed by Alphabet Inc.'s X, will make its public debut at the Smithsonian

Firefighters walk towards one of the towers at the World Trade Center before it collapsed on September 11, 2001.

Innovation for Good

9/11 Changed How Doctors Treat PTSD

New research in the 20 years since the September 11th attacks has led to better therapies for those diagnosed with trauma disorders

Researchers with the Kivi Kuaka project are tagging a variety of Pacific birds, hoping they will reveal differences in their capacity to detect and respond to dangerous storms and tsunamis.

Can Birds Tip Us Off to Natural Disasters?

Researchers think birds can hear hurricanes and tsunamis—a sense they’re hoping to tap into to develop a bird-based early warning system

Breakup albums take listeners through the stages of a breakup much like the stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

The Heart-Wrenching History of the Breakup Album

From Joni Mitchell's 'Blue' to Olivia Rodrigo's 'Sour,' love and loss has an ever evolving soundtrack

The Nautilus, a research vessel operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust, and the ROV Hercules (in the water) on the hunt for a cancer-busting marine bacteria.

A Marine Bacteria Species Shows Promise for Curing an Aggressive Brain Cancer

A new glioblastoma drug is derived from a microbe found in the ocean at depths of up to 6,500 feet

A flag in New York City's Times Square marks MTV's 40th birthday.

At 40, MTV Is Officially Over the Hill

Born in 1981, the network soon grew to include reality TV and the VMAs. But nothing compares to its glory days of 24/7 music videos

Rasha Alqahtani, an 18-year-old from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, won a third award in the behavioral and social sciences category of the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair for her prototype of a video game feature to assess anxiety. In addition to her STEM research, Alqahtani is a poet and artist.

Innovation for Good

This Teenager Is Developing a Video Game That Assesses Your Mental Health

Rasha Alqahtani, an 18-year-old from Saudi Arabia, is determined to help her peers learn about their anxiety—in the wildly popular setting of 'Minecraft'

In this long exposure picture, trees burn on a hillside behind Honey Lake campground during the Dixie Fire on August 18, 2021 in Milford, California. The wildfire in Northern California continues to grow, burning over 626,000 acres according to CalFire.

Innovation for Good

From Supercomputers to Fire-Starting Drones, These Tools Help Fight Wildfires

As climate change worsens wildfires in the West, agencies are tapping into new technologies to keep up with the flames

SpongeBob on a stick is the closest we come today to the forgotten fad of molded ice cream.

The Lost Art of Molding Ice Cream Into Eagles, Tugboats and Pineapples

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, ice cream makers used metal casts to create fanciful desserts

Rea Ann Silva with an oversized version of the Beautyblender sponge

Smithsonian Voices

Rea Ann Silva Invented the 'Beautyblender' and Changed Makeup Forever

Silva’s work as a makeup artist on "Girlfriends" unexpectedly thrust her into the beauty products industry as an innovator and entrepreneur

Transplanting a human protein, known for promoting growth, into crops may engender larger, heavier and more bountiful plants.

Innovation for Good

Researchers Transfer a Human Protein Into Plants to Supersize Them

While a promising route to boosting crop yields, experts say more work needs to be done to understand why the tweak works

An early example of stylish appeal: the 1940 Chevrolet 
half-ton.

The Rugged History of the Pickup Truck

At first, it was all about hauling things we needed. Then the vehicle itself became the thing we wanted

Webb’s 18 mirror segments can lock into the largest telescopic mirror humankind has ever built.

Future of Space Exploration

The Five Big Ways the James Webb Telescope Will Help Astronomers Understand the Universe

The highly awaited observatory is set to break new ground in many areas of astronomical research

The most recent additions to the scimitar-horned oryx herd at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute are two calves borne from an improved artificial insemination method.

Future of Conservation

Two New Scimitar-Horned Oryx Calves Born Through Improved Methods of Artificial Insemination

The assisted reproduction method will help with population management efforts of these critically endangered species and their rewilding

Oceanix is gearing up to build a prototype of a 5-acre city for 300 residents in a yet-to-be determined location.

Innovation for Good

In the Face of Rising Seas, Are Floating Cities a Real Possibility?

A scale model of Oceanix City, a concept capable of supporting more than 10,000 residents, will be featured in the Smithsonian's upcoming 'Futures' exhibit

A chameleon’s exterior can dapple on demand with a remarkable variety of colors and patterns. Researchers are inching towards realizing that capability in robots.

Scientists Design a Robotic Chameleon That Crawls and Changes Color

A new artificial skin can sense its surroundings and create a camouflage coat

Were it not for tuberculosis, artist and furniture maker Daniel Mack writes, “It’s unlikely that there would have been an Adirondack chair.”

How the Adirondack Chair Became the Feel-Good Recliner That Cures What Ails You

The furniture piece has gone through countless permutations, but it all started at a time when resting outdoors was thought to be a matter of life or death

"I had 'Earthseed' in mind when I created the portrait of Octavia Butler. Parable of the Sower is one of my favorites of Butler's novels," says Nettrice Gaskins.

The Pioneering Sci-Fi Writer Octavia E. Butler Joins a Pantheon of Celebrated Futurists

The author’s career is honored by a newly commissioned work by digital artist Nettrice Gaskins

Photo of the day

Local fishermen are fishing with a huge net in a traditional way. Fishing at Jamuna