Innovation

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.


This stimulant drink comes from beans that are roasted and ground and, for many of us, it's a staple of life. But do you know where coffee grows and how it gets to America? How a French roast differs from an Italian roast? What a coffee cherry is? Or how decaffeinated coffee is made?

I live in California, where we are having a power crunch. I have a hypothetical question: Could I power my computer or my TV with a bicycle generator?

How does chlorine work to clean swimming pools?

I have been smoking for 50 years and have always wondered why cigarettes have filter tips. I can remember when none of the cigarettes on the market had filters, and now nearly all of them do. Does the filter do anything?

My glasses have an anti-reflective coating. How does that work?

Dissolvable stitches are a convenient medical marvel. What causes them to dissolve?

From Beaujolais to Bordeaux, Madeira to Merlot and Sancerre to Shiraz, wine can complement almost any food. And, one glass of red wine daily may be a heart-healthy habit. Learn how wine is made, from grapes to glass!

Crayola crayons have nurtured childhood creativity and remained safely edible for over 100 years. Now learn their story- how they originated in the 19th century, how they've changed, and we'll even tell you how old that familiar label is.

Have concerns about the effects of aspartame? Wonder if it can really make you go blind? Find out the answer to your questions in this article.

Stout, lager, pale ale, pilsner and porter ... it takes a lot to produce a great beer. Take a tour through the brewing process from start to finish, barley to bottle, mash to keg and learn to brew at home!

Sourdough bread tastes great, but have you ever thought about it as a technology??? Learn how this technology works!

There was once no cure for blindness, but artificial vision systems implanted directly on the retina may restore sight. Is a silicon microchip the answer to combating retinal disease?

The lead in a pencil is not actually lead. It is a mixture of graphite and clay, but have you ever wondered how they get the lead inside a wooden pencil. Find out how pencils are constructed in this article from HowStuffWorks.

Eyeglasses are one of the most common sights in the world. Learn what goes into creating the lenses and how to read an eyeglass prescription.

Although technology is helping to make the world seem a lot smaller, there are still major differences between countries. Learn about electrical standardization around the globe.

Whether you're hitting the surf or the slopes or just spending a day on the lake, sunglasses are a must-have accessory. Find out if the $10 sunglasses are as good as the high-cost ones.

How do trick birthday candles work -- the kind that re-light themselves after you blow them out?

If you've ever been to an aerial fireworks show, then you know that fireworks have a magic all their own. Ever wonder how they make such incredible colors and designs? Learn all about these pyrotechnics!

How can my glasses change from transparent, when I'm inside, to dark when I go outdoors?

You can find glow-in-the-dark item everywhere these days. Have you ever wondered how these items produce their light? Find out the answer to that question in this article.

There is a can of Pam in my kitchen that has a small hole in the lid. Lots of other cans have this hole. Why?

There's a candy called 'Pop Rocks.' When you put it in your mouth it makes a loud popping sound and it feels really weird! How do Pop Rocks work?

It certainly doesn’t bubble up at the drugstore, and it’s kind of a snooze if you pour it on skin that doesn’t have a cut on it. So, what is it about blood that makes hydrogen peroxide start foaming at the mouth?

Yesterday you talked about hydrogen peroxide, and the day before you talked about Pop Rocks candy. Since we are talking about things that fizz, what about Alka Seltzer? How does it work and why does it fizz?