Inventions

Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper in Milan, Italy

Ken Burns Turns His Lens to Leonardo da Vinci

An upcoming two-part documentary will be the filmmaker's first foray into a non-American subject matter

An artist's rendition of a LISA spacecraft.

This 'Game-Changer' Detector Will Hunt for Giant Ripples in Spacetime

Set to launch in 2035, the European Space Agency's LISA mission will listen for gravitational waves created by colliding black holes and neutron stars—and some might date nearly to the Big Bang

Researchers have developed a new video hardware and software system to show humans how insects and other animals experience color. Here, they show an orange-barred sulphur butterfly as it might look to a bird. (The insect appears yellow to humans.)

See the World Through the Eyes of Animals With These Stunning New Videos

By making ultraviolet light accessible to our eyes, a novel camera system reveals how insects, birds and other creatures experience color

Scientists produced the most complete catalog of marine microbe DNA yet, including data from the deeper zones of the oceans.

DNA From the Ocean's 'Twilight Zone' Could Lead to New Lifesaving Drugs, Scientists Say

Researchers catalogued the genes of more than 300 million groups of marine bacteria, viruses and fungi in hopes that the database could lead to breakthroughs in medicine, energy and agriculture

CES 2024, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade fair, was held in Las Vegas January 9-12.

The Eight Coolest Inventions From the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show

A solar-powered electric vehicle, an at-home “multiscope,” an office bike that charges your devices and more were unveiled at the annual Las Vegas trade show

A player serving on an outdoor court. In 2022, the Association of Pickleball Professionals estimated there were 36.5 million pickleball players in the U.S.

How the Obscure Sport of Pickleball Became King of the Court

With origins dating back to the 16th century, paddle sports have always had an unmistakable allure

Monarch butterflies' signature white spots could help them fly—and inspire better drones.

Seven Scientific Discoveries From 2023 That Could Lead to New Inventions

Biologists learned lots about animals and plants this year, and their findings could inspire better robots, medicine and environmental technologies

A view of a Zamboni machine at work during a game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California.

How the Zamboni Revolutionized Fun on the Ice

The story behind the most efficient—and intriguing—piece of hardware in all of sports

TranscribeGlass is an attachment device that can pick up speech or audio from across a lecture hall.

This Augmented Reality Tool Could Change Communication for Some Deaf and Hearing Impaired People

TranscribeGlass attaches to any pair of glasses and projects real-time subtitles in the user’s field of vision

Mass Audubon's science coordinator Mark Faherty examines a horseshoe crab in Pleasant Bay, where he has conducted research on them for years.

New Synthetic Horseshoe Crab Blood Could Mean Pharma Won't Bleed the Species Dry

The “living fossils” have been vital for testing intravenous drugs, but a few large pharmaceutical companies are using a lab-made compound instead

Could this innovation provide a solution to one of our era’s biggest scourges?

Scientists Have Created Synthetic Sponges That Soak Up Microplastics

Made from starch and gelatin, the biodegradable sponges remove as much as 90 percent of microplastics in tap water and seawater

Sholes and Glidden gussied up an early model with floral ornaments, in imitation of sewing machines.

Where Did the QWERTY Keyboard Come From?

From laptops to iPhones, the first successful typewriter’s keyboard layout lives on

Designed in 1906, Glenn Curtiss' first V-8 motorcycle required a longer, sturdier frame than any previous bike to support the massive weight of the engine.

A Century Ago, Glenn Curtiss Was the 'Fastest Man on Earth'

Before he changed aviation forever, the daredevil achieved an unparalleled speed record on land

Early mug shots of 19th-century criminal suspects in a book by Alphonse Bertillon, chief of criminal identification for the Paris police

A Brief History of the Mug Shot

Police have been using the snapshots in criminal investigations since the advent of commercial photography

Some 30 million cups of spaghettieis are sold in Germany each year.

How Germany's Spaghetti Ice Cream Came to Be

Italian German ice cream maker Dario Fontanella invented "spaghettieis," a clever dish that has captured the hearts of many

In 1984, Ivo Zdarsky fled from communist Czechoslovakia to Vienna in a homemade flying machine.

The Man Who Pierced the Iron Curtain in a Flying Go-Kart—and Left Civilization Forever

Escaping communism in a DIY aircraft wasn’t enough for Ivo Zdarsky. So he invented his own way of life in a Utah desert ghost town

The pop-top is a patently American invention.

How Popping Open a Can Became the Sound of Summer

More than 60 years ago, an unfortunate picnic set Ohioan Ermal C. Fraze on a path to inventing the first pop-top tab opener for canned beverages

An animated rendering of one of Leonardo's designs for a flying machine

Explore Animated Models, Digitized Sketches and More in Leonardo da Vinci's Largest-Ever Online Retrospective

The new Google Arts & Culture hub features high-resolution scans, 3D renderings and artificial intelligence experiments

A free exhibition in Washington, D.C., shows 12 pages from the multi-volume collection of Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks called the Codex Atlanticus.

Leonardo da Vinci Sketches Go on Display in the U.S. for the First Time

Pages of the "Codex Atlanticus" provide a rare glimpse into the Renaissance icon's imagination and scientific prowess

Thomas Edison told journalists they would each receive a brief, private demonstration of the new light bulb’s capacities. They could marvel at what he had achieved before he swiftly ushered them away, ensuring they’d be out of the room long before the bulb burned out.

How Thomas Edison Tricked the Press Into Believing He'd Invented the Light Bulb

A year before he developed a working bulb, the "Wizard of Menlo Park" created the illusion that his prototype burned for more than a few minutes at a time

Page 1 of 27