Innovation

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A bus being treated with ultraviolet light in Shanghai, China. Although types of UV light are already in use to decontaminate vehicles and indoor spaces, the wavelengths used are dangerous to people. Researchers hope that wavelengths of far-UVC light can be used harmlessly when people are present.

Covid-19

Could UV Light Reduce the Spread of Covid-19 in Indoor Spaces?

Some wavelengths of light in a range called far-UVC kill microbes in experiments and appear to be harmless to people

The Quadcopter Mines Detector uses a metal detector to find land mines as it flies above them.

A Ukrainian Teenager Invents a Drone That Can Detect Land Mines

Seventeen-year-old Igor Klymenko worked on his invention while sheltering in a basement from Russian attacks

Market research firm Fact.MR estimated that global nonalcoholic wine sales reached $1.6 billion in 2021 and will double in the next decade.

The Science Behind Nonalcoholic Wine

Drinking habits are changing, and vintners are exceeding tasters' expectations with new options stripped of their alcohol

The Bell X-1, a miracle of form and function.

How the Bell X-1 Ushered in the Supersonic Age

The speeding-bullet design propelled Chuck Yeager into history

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The Remarkable Effort to Locate America's Lost Patents

An 1836 blaze destroyed thousands of records that catalogued the young nation's ingenuity, but recent discoveries indicate that originals may still exist

The data, says the exhibition director Rachel Goslins, offers "a potential roadmap for anyone seeking to be inspired, as well as to inspire hope and action." (Above: the two-story interactive me + you, by the New York artist and architect Suchi Reddy, incorporated the latest in artificial intellegence analysis.)

What It Will Take to Inspire Hope for a Better Tomorrow

Visitor data from the Smithsonian’s FUTURES exhibition provides a road map for how to navigate the world ahead

The da Vinci surgical robot, shown here on a US Navy hospital ship, is one of the most widely used devices to assist doctors in laparoscopic surgery. The procedure — in which tools are inserted through tiny holes in the abdomen instead of cutting a long incision — allows patients to recover more quickly.

The Past, Present and Future of Robotic Surgery

After decades of merely assisting doctors, are sophisticated machines ready to take charge?

Manual breast pump with black bulb, dating to sometime between 1920 and 1959

The Sucky History of the Breast Pump

Efficient, double electric pumps are only 30 years young, but contraptions for expressing breast milk have been around for millennia

Migrating waterbirds over South Dakota’s Huron Wetland Management District on North America’s Central Flyway.

Scientists Are Using These High-Tech Tools to Study Bird Migration

Tracking the journeys of different species is key to protecting them from habitat loss and other threats

Burls are bark-covered growths that can protrude from a tree’s trunk. They contain unsprouted bud tissue, and produce a wood that’s valued for its unique grain and smooth workability.

What Is the Financial Value of an Old-Growth Tree?

In setting fines for timber poaching, experts are looking at different ways to calculate the worth of trees

How does a nation committed to education increase access? Give kids a lift.

A Brief History of the School Bus

It’s as traditional as the ABCs. But the school bus has always been a vehicle for change

Cotton fields

It's Time for the Fashion Industry to Launch a Farm-to-Closet Movement

For fiber and textile producers, the path to growing sustainable cotton, hemp and flax is complicated

In the Mediterranean Sea, ship strikes are the leading cause of death for sperm whales.

A New Detection System Could Save Sperm Whales From Ship Strikes

Scientists have developed a computational technique that can track whales in real time—and potentially prevent collisions

Robert Sansone with his novel synchronous reluctance motor.

This 17-Year-Old Designed a Motor That Could Potentially Transform the Electric Car Industry

Robert Sansone's research could pave the way for the sustainable manufacturing of electric vehicles that do not require rare-earth magnets

ElSa is a prototype of a machine-learning-driven software that analyzes movement patterns in videos of humans and elephants.

Good News

This Teenager Invented a Low-Cost Tool to Spot Elephant Poachers in Real Time

Seventeen-year-old Anika Puri created a machine-learning-driven model that analyzes the movement patterns of humans and elephants

At the world's largest arms fair held every two years in London, a group of artists in 2016 organized the "Art the Arms Fair," to voice opposition to the war industry and the international arms trade (above: Pattern Tank by Tristan Oliver, 2019).

Designers Build a Provocative Road Map for World Peace

Cooper Hewitt’s new show taps into the collective consciousness of activists, app developers, artists and architects to envision a way forward

An alkaline hydrolysis machine at White Rose Aqua Cremation in Escondido, California

Could Water Cremation Become the New American Way of Death?

A sustainable option for what to do with our remains is trickling into popular consciousness

In the upcoming exhibition, "Nation of Speed," the Sharp DR 90 Nemesis (above: museum workers install the aircraft in the new gallery) will go on view when the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum reopens this fall. 

How the Nemesis Air Racers Redefined Speed

For Jon and Patricia Sharp, crafting and flying the sleek airplanes was as much about sport as it was about ingenuity

James Corner Field Operations, the San Francisco branch of the New York-based firm that designed Manhattan's High Line, was the developer for the project.

Good News

This New San Francisco Park Sits Above Six Lanes of Traffic

The 14-acre Presidio Tunnel Tops is the latest infrastructure reuse project to transform a city

Sea turtles, such as olive ridleys and loggerheads, spend most of their time just below the ocean’s surface—the perfect place to collect data for tropical cyclone forecasting.

Tagged Turtles Are Helping Scientists Predict Cyclones

In the southeast Indian Ocean, turtle-borne sensors are filling in the gaps researchers need to forecast storms