Everyday Innovations

Have you ever wondered how black lights, or mirrors work? This collection of articles will explain the workings of some of the most common inventions and innovations you come into contact with everyday.

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It bends to your will, it has nifty ridges, and it allows patients and little kids alike to slurp along with everyone else. How did the flexible straw begin its days?

By Kate Kershner

It holds together straps, serves as a makeshift button or body art and even dresses up nicely as a friendship pin. Who do we have to thank for this simple wire workhorse?

By Kate Kershner

Breastfeeding is a healthy way to feed young children, but busy schedules and other factors may keep mom from being available when baby's hungry. Breast pumps can help bridge that gap.

By Melanie Winderlich


So-called "patent trolls" buy patents from others and use them to make money from companies that have built a successful market for a product. Have their tactics created a kind of tax on innovation?

By John Kelly

Electronic cigarettes were developed to help smokers get their dose of nicotine without the chemicals associated with burning tobacco. But are they any safer?

By Susan Cassidy

We humans aren't complete slaves to time. We've devised ways to pack an extra hour of sunshine into our day, thanks to daylight saving time. But who came up with this idea and why do so many people loathe it?

By William Harris & Kathryn Whitbourne

You want to make a battery powered light bulb, but you're not sure how to do it. Learn about how to make a battery powered light bulb in this article.


You want to make a potato powered light bulb, but you're not sure how to do it. Learn about how to make a potato powered light bulb in this article.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

You want to make a solar water heater using a soda can, but you're not sure how to do it. Learn about how to make a solar water heater using a soda can.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Making a barometer is a fun project, especially if you're interested in tracking and forecasting the weather. Read this article to learn how to make a barometer.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

The term "digital gastronomy" conjures up images of space-age kitchens, but it may not be so far in the future. Marcelo Coelho and Amit Zoran are proposing the Cornucopia, three devices that would revolutionize food technology.

By Sara Novak


A burn injury is one of the most devastating things a body can endure, and until recently, a serious third-degree burn meant certain death. Skin grown in a lab (yes, you read that right) improves the odds.

By Molly Edmonds

For such a pedestrian item, mirrors resonate deeply in the human psyche. They represent truth and illusion at the same time, and this dichotomy has shown up in literature time and again.

By Gallagher Flinn

If you don’t know what tinnovation is, prepare to be amazed. These photos feature neat hacks that turn mere Altoid tins into utility items and art.

Most people wear sunglasses to protect their eyes -- or to just look cool. But are there possibilities for energy generation that we're missing out on?

By Maria Trimarchi


Right now, you may be sitting on a chair or walking on a rug made of some type of fabric. Hopefully, you're wearing fabric in the form of clothes! But fabric is easily damaged. So what if there were a super fabric out there that stayed intact?

By Jessika Toothman

Pet microchips are supposed to ensure recovery of your lost animal. But these chips have received as much opposition as they have praise. Find out when the devices work and when they fail.

By Jane McGrath

Swapping out a non-functioning organ for a manmade replacement usually makes sense, but what about a manmade replacement for blood? Learn all about artificial blood.

By Tracy V. Wilson

Breast implants are becoming a popular high school graduation present for parents in the U.S. to give their teens. Learn all about breast implants and the surgical process of augmentation.

By Robert Valdes


In the past few years, tooth-whitening has exploded as the physical upgrade of choice. Unlike nose jobs and chin tucks, just about anybody can afford to try this at home. Learn about different whitening techniques and how they work, and decide if you should give it a try.

By Dr. Jerry Gordon

Black lights look like normal lights, but they do something completely different. Switch one on, and fingernails, laundry detergent, highlighters, money and teeth will glow in the dark. Find out what why.

By Tom Harris

Better than buttons? Maybe. Less time-consuming than laces? Definitely. As far as fastening mechanisms go, the zipper is a work of art. Learn exactly what makes up a zipper and how it all fits together so perfectly.

By Tom Harris

Before digital cameras, you needed instant film to get instant pictures. With instant-film photography, you can watch the image slowly come together in a matter of minutes. While it seems like magic, the process relies on elements of science. Find ou

By Tom Harris


They dispense everything from hairspray to cleaning products to whipped cream. Without them, you'd be doing a whole lot of pumping.

By Tom Harris

You see light sticks everywhere during the holidays – especially Halloween. Have you ever wondered why these cool light sources glow? What's happening when you crack one? Take a look inside a light stick.

By Tom Harris