Innovations

Enticed by a sweet treat, a cow learns to use the "MooLoo," a latrine for cattle, where excrement can be collected. The only question is: can this technique work on a larger scale?

Researchers Potty Trained Young Cows, a Promising Measure to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

One cow pees up to eight gallons a day; training them is easy, and capturing and treating the waste could make a difference

After his recovery, researchers noticed Bruce was using small pebbles to rid his plumage of mites and dirt—a practice that has never been observed before.

Bruce the Parrot Uses Tools to Survive Despite a Broken Beak

Missing his upper beak, an alpine parrot in New Zealand uses small pebbles for preening

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

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'

ELSA-d is a demonstration device designed to show that space debris removal is possible.

Innovation for Good

Can the World's First Space Sweeper Make a Dent in Orbiting Debris?

A private company has just completed the first successful test of its trash collector

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

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

This small device flashes red if a visitor gets too close to an artwork or fails to wear their face mask correctly.

Innovation for Good

Italian Museum Uses Cameras to Track How Visitors Engage With Art

A new A.I. system hopes to help curators determine artworks' "attraction value" and optimize gallery layouts

Run, Cassie, run!

'Star Wars'–Like Running Robot Finishes 5K on Two Legs

The untethered bipedal bot made history by completing the outdoor course in 53 minutes

This wearable sensor harvests sweat from the fingertips to generate the electricity it needs to measure things such as heart rate and blood-sugar.

Innovation for Good

New Wearable Medical Sensors Run on Fingertip Sweat

The slim, flexible device could measure blood glucose or heart rate without the need for batteries

An installation view of "Automania" at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. The red car in front is a Cisitalia 202 GT Car (1946) designed by Italian firm Pininfarina; the green car in the background is a German "Beetle," a.k.a. a Volkswagen Type 1 Sedan (1949).  The lithograph on the wall is Watch the Fords Go By (1937) by A. M. Cassandre.

How the Automobile Changed the World, for Better or Worse

New MoMA exhibition explores artists' responses to the beauty, brutality and environmental devastation of cars and car culture

NASA just announced a partnership with Tide to figure out how to do laundry in space. Solving this problem will allow astronauts to stop throwing away their dirty clothes, which means some missions must ferry hundreds of pounds of clean clothes into space.

NASA Just Put Doing the Laundry on Astronauts' Chore List

Dirty clothes are currently thrown away, requiring missions where weight is at a premium to bring many pounds of socks, shirts and underwear

Inventive and egalitarian, the Arts and Industries Building is due to open in November after being closed for nearly two decades.

Smithsonian 175

The Storied Past and Inspiring Future of the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building

It was once the Institution's most forward-looking museum. Soon it will be again

Visionary executive William Barstow Strong led the second transcontinental line, the Santa Fe, in the 1880s, paving the way for thousands of miles of track.

How the Santa Fe Railroad Changed America Forever

The golden spike made the newspapers. But another railroad made an even bigger difference to the nation

When a person uses the HiccAway to drink water, they have to suck about four times harder than if they were using a regular straw.

Innovation for Good

This Straw Is Designed to Instantly Cure Hiccups

The 'HiccAway' stopped cases of hiccups 92 percent of the time during an early trial

Nyan Cat, a 2011 animated feline with a Pop Tart body, first became a popular YouTube video but was reclaimed by its creator, a young Dallas artist named Chris Torres, as an NFT that sold for $587,000 in February.

Hirshhorn Hosts Panel of Experts to Hash Out the Brave New World of Non-Fungible Tokens

The unexpected $69 million sale of a digital artwork shocked the art world and now disruption is the name of the game

President Barack Obama fist bumps a robotic arm being controlled by electrodes implanted in Nathan Copeland's brain at the University of Pittsburgh on October 13, 2016.

New Research

Researchers Create Mind-Controlled Robotic Arm With Sense of Touch

Touch feedback allowed a man with electrodes implanted into his brain to command a robotic arm and complete tasks quickly

Before donating the 45.5-carat Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution, the jeweler Harry Winston had Bradford Bachrach photograph Eleanor Kidd—the face of Lucky Strike cigarettes—wearing 
the gem in 1958.

The Story Behind the Photography Studio That Captured America

For generations, Bachrach Photographers made everyone, from JFK to Duke Ellington to everyday people, look great

Freshly gathered truffles at Burwell Farms are the fruit of
a bold collaboration—and a proprietary cultivation technique.

Has the American-Grown Truffle Finally Broken Through?

These delicacies, harvested in an experiment in North Carolina, have food-lovers and farmers ravenous for more

The enzyme-enhanced plastic film had the same strength and flexibility as a standard plastic grocery bag.

Innovation for Good

This Biodegradable Plastic Will Actually Break Down in Your Compost

Water and heat activate plastic-munching enzymes that reduce the material to harmless chemical building blocks

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