Inventions

Ultrasound of a 4-month-old fetus

A Brief History of the Sonogram

In the mid-1950s, a Scottish obstetrician became the first to apply ultrasound technology to a pregnant human abdomen

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

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

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

A 3D image of the spiral-shaped intestine of a Pacific spiny dogfish shark. In life, food would move through this intestine left to right.

Innovation for Good

Sharks' Intestines Spiral Like a Valve Invented by Nikola Tesla

Tesla's ingenious valve promoted a one-way flow of fluid without the need for moving parts, but, it turns out, evolution got there first

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

An engineer demonstrates a car phone five months before the historic first call on a competing company’s commercial mobile telephone service in 1946.

The First Mobile Phone Call Was Made 75 Years Ago

The evolution of the cell phone illustrates what it takes for technologies to go from breakthrough to big time

Xerox technology completely streamlined the animation process.

How 'One Hundred and One Dalmatians' Saved Disney

Sixty years ago, the company modernized animation when it used Xerox technology on the classic film

Minute Molecular, the company developing the device, has high hopes for it as an efficient and accurate means of testing people at schools, workplaces and sports stadiums.

Innovation for Good

This Compact PCR Test for Covid-19 Could Give Accurate Results in 15 Minutes

The speed and ease of the DASH testing platform would be a boon for screening efforts

None

Innovation for Good

Innovation for Good

A look at the researchers, inventors and community leaders who are bringing creativity and ingenuity to today's biggest challenges

Cheez-It’s 11-month shelf life is impressive, but so is the company’s history.

A Brief History of the Cheez-It

America's iconic orange cracker turns 100 this year

Harry Soref built Master Lock from the ground up.

Master Lock Has Had a Hold on the Industry for 100 Years

A century ago, Harry Soref made his Milwaukee-based company into a world leader with his invention of the laminated steel padlock

An origami-inspired tent had to be flexible enough to inflate, but sturdy enough to withstand the elements.

Innovation for Good

Inflatable Origami Structures Could Someday Offer Emergency Shelter

An applied mathematics team created origami-inspired tents that can collapse to the size of a twin mattress with ease

British schoolchildren dig into a lunch of fish sticks in 1974. Since its debut in 1953, the frozen food has proved to be a hit among kids and adults, owing to its palatability, low cost, and convenience.

The Surprising Success Story of Fish Sticks

The 1950s convenience food has enjoyed a winning streak—no less so than during the Covid-19 pandemic

Xiulin Ruan, a Purdue University professor of mechanical engineering, holds up his lab’s sample of the whitest paint on record.

Innovation for Good

This Ultra-White Paint May Someday Replace Air Conditioning

Developed by researchers at Purdue University, the paint reflects 98.1 percent of sunlight

Seventeen-year-old Dasia Taylor was named one of 40 finalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the country’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.

Innovation for Good

This High Schooler Invented Color-Changing Sutures to Detect Infection

After winning a state science fair and becoming a finalist in a national competition, Dasia Taylor now has her sights set on a patent

One of the most versatile harmonica players in pop history is Stevie Wonder, shown here in Paris in 1963 at age 13.

A Brief History of the Harmonica

How the world’s handiest instrument took over American music

What if literature was an invention for making us happier and healthier?

Eight of Literature's Most Powerful Inventions—and the Neuroscience Behind How They Work

These reoccuring story elements have proven effects on our imagination, our emotions and other parts of our psyche

Jennifer Doudna, a Nobel Prize recipient for her work on the gene-editing tool CRISPR, and the "life sciences revolution" are the dual subjects of Walter Isaacson's latest biography.

How Scientist Jennifer Doudna Is Leading the Next Technological Revolution

A new book from Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson offers an incisive portrait of the gene editing field that is changing modern medicine

loading icon