Innovation

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A Spectra Physics Model A supermarket scanner—one of the first ten ever produced. A laser within the unit projects a beam onto a mirror that redirects it through the glass plate on the top.

The Supermarket Scanner Changed the Way We Buy Groceries Forever

Invented 50 years ago, the curious box deciphered an arcane kind of code to offer shoppers a trip into the future

This 2014 acrylic painting by Taralee Guild captures the glistening promise of a 1960s Airstream at Pismo Beach, California.

How the Airstream Hit the Open Road

This space-age sensation kicked the American road trip into high gear

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This Doctor Pioneered Counting Calories a Century Ago, and We’re Still Dealing With the Consequences

When Lulu Hunt Peters brought Americans a new method for weighing their dinner options, she launched a century of diet fads that left us hungry for a better way to keep our bodies strong and healthy

The Old Lahaina Courthouse was destroyed in a wildfire on August 11, 2023.

University Students in Hawaii Use Cutting-Edge Technology to Digitally Restore Historic Buildings Damaged by Maui Wildfires

A new course at University of Hawaii at Manoa rethinks historic preservation, having enrollees design digital twins of notable structures so that people can experience them virtually

Two X-wing CAVs flew over the opening ceremony of an attraction at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World Resort in December 2019. 

How Engineers Created a Flying 'Star Wars' X-Wing

The starfighter-outfitted drone was the first remotely piloted aircraft of its kind and size approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for public demonstration

A number of people deserve credit for the birth of the Pop-Tart.

The Contentious History of the Pop-Tart

In the 1960s, two cereal giants raced to develop a toaster pastry

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How Artificial Intelligence Is Making 2,000-Year-Old Scrolls Readable Again

The innovative “Vesuvius Challenge” unlocked a mystery that had confounded archeologists for centuries

The Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station. Geothermal power has long been popular in volcanic countries like Iceland, where hot water bubbles from the ground.

Is Geothermal Power Heating Up as an Energy Source?

Long confined to regions with volcanic activity, the method of harnessing energy from the Earth promises to become much more versatile thanks to new technologies

JBS Haldane and Edwin Martin Case (pictured) experimented on themselves to study the effects of nitrogen narcosis, in which the gas becomes a powerful narcotic drug under increased pressure.

To Help the Allied War Effort, These Scientists Got Drunk on Nitrogen

During World War II, British researchers conducted tests on themselves to gauge how submariners' brains would function at extreme depths

"Change Your Game / Cambia tu juego" looks at scores of innovations that improve performance, ensure safety and more accurately score games.

From the JogBra to Gatorade to Breakaway Basketball Rims, Sports Are a Field for Invention

A new exhibition at the National Museum of American History aims to inspire the next generation of innovators

Researchers hold a male red-cockaded woodpecker in Florida’s Osceola National Forest, making sure his tracking bands are correctly in place.

Endangered Woodpeckers Find a New Home on a Military Training Ground

The red-cockaded woodpecker has lost nearly all of its habitat in the southeastern United States, but an Air Force range in Florida is part of an emerging initiative to relocate besieged species on protected land

Facsimile of an agricultural scene found in the tomb chapel of Nakht, a scribe and astronomer who probably lived during the reign of Thutmose IV

Stressed About Taxes? Blame the Ancient Egyptians

The civilization developed the world’s first known tax system around 3000 B.C.E.

The Library Company reading room on Juniper Street in Philadelphia c. 1935, one of the group’s main locations from 1880 to 1935.

How Ben Franklin Invented the Library as We Know It

Books were rare and expensive in colonial America, but the founding father had an idea

A bright spot for sake is in America. In 2022, according to the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, the U.S. was the No. 1 export market in terms of volume and second market in value for sake. 

An American-Made Sake Movement Is Underway

In the last decade, a truly homegrown effort has bubbled up in the United States

Texas Motor Speedway staff watch the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse through special eclipse glasses.

This Is the Gear You Need to View the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

Protect your eyesight with eclipse glasses, binoculars, telescopes or lens filters

As one of the first female-only programs of its kind in Tanzania, Exodus Travels Foundation provides intensive three-week training sessions for local women who want to obtain their guide license through its Mountain Lioness Scholarship.

Five Programs Paving the Way for Gender Equality Worldwide

Around the globe, teams of women are taking on traditionally male-dominated roles

The Aria Resort & Casino, a striking pair of curved buildings on the Las Vegas Strip, bills itself as eco-friendly and water-efficient.

Las Vegas Is Going All In on Its Water Conservation Plan

As the Southwest dries, can a city notorious for excess find a way to survive with less?

ArTreeficial is a solar-powered, self-cleaning, artificial-intelligence-driven “tree” that entices the spotted lanternfly and eliminates the bug using an electronic mesh.

This High Schooler Invented an A.I.-Powered Trap That Zaps Invasive Lanternflies

Using solar power, machine learning and her family’s patio umbrella, 18-year-old Selina Zhang created a synthetic tree that lures the destructive species

Minerals and algae form patterns in the scalding hot water at Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park's Midway Geyser Basin. Yellowstone National Park has more than 10,000 thermal features, making it the largest concentration of active geysers in the world.

How a Microbe From Yellowstone's Hot Springs Could Help Feed the World

A Chicago startup has turned a fungus found by NASA into a protein-packed food

One potential tool to combat the growing affordable housing problem, which the National Low Income Housing Coalition says has grown to a need for more than 7 million homes, is 3D printing.

Can 3D Printing Help Address the Affordable Housing Crisis in the United States?

The construction is faster, cleaner and more affordable, but experts acknowledge some trial and error is needed

Photo of the day

In the National Memorial Park, countless rows and rows of tombstones crisscross the grounds of those who died for today's peace. It should not be forgotten today. Remember Me