Do you know how common everyday items, such as mirrors, fireworks or sunglasses work? This collection of Innovation articles explores the workings of objects you may come into contact with on a regular basis.

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Toilets spew invisible aerosol plumes with every flush. How do we know? The proof was captured by high-powered lasers.

By John Crimaldi

The light bulb literally brightened the whole world and Thomas Edison generally gets the credit for inventing it. But did he?

By Dylan Ris

The 20th century would have been very different without the contributions of General Foods chemist William A. Mitchell, who tapped into the American appetite for convenience and novelty.

By Laurie L. Dove


Louis Pasteur was arguably the world's best-known microbiologist, credited with developing germ theory, the process of pasteurization and the rabies and anthrax vaccines. So why was he never awarded the Nobel Prize?

By Rodney E. Rohde

Many items enjoyed by people of all abilities were originally designed to help people with disabilities. Here are some inventions you may use every day that were originally for the disabled community.

By Alia Hoyt

Researchers are constantly developing fabrics that can help keep you cool, whether you're working out or trying to get a good night's sleep. But how do they work, and which are the best ones?

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

This is one 'supermaterial' that might actually live up to its hype. So what is graphene really, and why is it so versatile?

By Dave Roos


If you're a gamer, you've got Jerry Lawson to thank for inventing the first commercial home video game console with interchangeable game cartridges.

By Tara Yarlagadda

Hedy Lamarr's twin passions were acting and inventing. During World War II, she came up with a secret communication system that paved the way for technology like WiFi and GPS. But for decades, people thought this was an urban legend.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

A new video translation technology not only converts speech into another language, but makes a speaker's lips move accurately in that language.

By Patrick J. Kiger

They're instantly recognizable — mostly for their color. We're talking about yellow legal pads. So who decided they'd be yellow, anyway?

By Meg Sparwath


A drone with some petri dishes attached is making research much less stressful for whales and scientists alike.

By Jesslyn Shields

The heyday for Morse code is primarily over, but this communication method using dots and dashes still has its place in our digital world.

By Mark Mancini

From Isaac Newton to Ivan Pavlov, scientists have developed and tested hypotheses through carefully crafted experiments for centuries. Here are three groundbreaking hypotheses and the predictions they tested.

By Mark Mancini

The trend toward tiny houses and rabid clutter clearing have combined to lead more than a few people away from the traditional home and into shipping container life.

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.


Galton was a pioneer in meteorology, psychology, statistics, biometrics, forensics and anthropology. But all of that is overshadowed by his promotion of and work on eugenics.

By Dave Roos

Magnets have always been solid, but scientists have now created a material that's both liquid and magnetic, able to change shape and adapt as necessary.

By Patrick J. Kiger

The pollution produced by cars, trucks and factories can be recycled as ink, cleaning the air of dangerous particulate matter and turning it into a useful product.

By Jim Marion

Who doesn't love a smooth, creamy bar of chocolate? The process to make one is pretty tricky, but sooo worth it.

By Shanna Freeman & Alia Hoyt


We're talking the science of aging beer with the brewmasters of Sweetwater Brewery.

In her legendary 60-year career, Jane Goodall has made being an intrepid scientist, environmentalist, writer and teacher look easy.

By Jesslyn Shields

There's a lot of controversy surrounding the two one-time work colleagues turned bitter rivals. Find out more with our quiz.

By Nathan Chandler

"Candy Queen" Jackie Sorkin took her love of sugary sweet candy and turned it into a crazy, colorful world of art and illusions.


Who invented the toilet? While we wish it were so, it wasn't Thomas Crapper. Surprisingly, toilet design hasn't changed much since the first "water closet" patent in the 1500s.

By Kathryn Whitbourne & Jesslyn Shields

Salt is something most of us use without thinking about it. But with so many options available, how do we know what's best?

By Shaun Chavis