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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I'm having T-shirts printed, and the people at the shop keep talking about "silk-screening." How does silk-screening work?

By Austin Henderson

A nautical mile is used for navigation at sea. It is a unit of measurement based on the circumference of Earth. How does it relate to a standard mile and a kilometer?

By HSW Contributors

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?

By Kevin Bonsor


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.

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.

By Bob Broten

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.

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!

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.


How does a Dippy Bird work?

Dissolvable stitches are a convenient medical marvel. How long does it take for stitches to dissolve?

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

You're sure you have it in you to think of an invention, but you're not sure how to do it. Get some tips here on how to think of an invention.

By Contributors


Even if you don't operate a scanning electron microscope all that frequently, you might want to brush up on these 10 scientific laws and theories. After all, they're some of our best tools for describing how the universe works.

By Jacob Silverman

Making a model of an atom is a good way to learn about the physical world. Read this article to learn how to make a model of an atom.

By Contributors

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 Contributors

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.


No really, can you? Sure, there are lots of chairs out there. Some rock. Some roll. Some recline. Some remain so crazy modern that we're afraid to direct our keisters onto their serious coolness. How you would change this staple of sedentary life?

By Robert Lamb

Solar energy is an up-and-coming field, but did you know that it owes much of its growth to NASA? Discover how NASA's research and development of solar power for space has trickled down to the Earthly realm.

By Nathan Chandler

If you thought that all NASA did was send shuttles into space, prepare to think again. Whether in the doctor's office, hospital or home medicine cabinet, you probably don’t go a day without bumping into some NASA technology.

By Linda C. Brinson

You might be familiar with space blankets -- those lightweight blankets worn by marathon runners or spectators in a football stadium. The technology was invented by NASA and is just one spinoff in the area of insulation. What are some others?

By John Kelly


NASA's technological innovations haven't just gotten us to the moon and beyond -- some have also helped make life a little greener here on Earth. What are five surprisingly grounded technologies spearheaded by NASA?

By Jessika Toothman

You think you really know an invention until -- whammo -- someone comes up with a new use for it. Ointment that soothes tired cow teats and treats baldness? Who would have thought?

By William Harris

These days, remote controls seem to, well, control our lives. Most people tend to have piles of them strewn about their living rooms. But where did this ubiquitous technology come from? Where is it headed?

By Nathan Chandler

The World Wide Web is bursting with information, so much so that it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data available to us. How can we sort through and make sense of it all? That's where Web mashups come in.

By Nathan Chandler


We're used to bar codes saving us time in the grocery store, but some applications of this handy technology might actually save your bacon. What are some potentially life-saving applications of bar code tech?

By Stephanie Crawford

2-D bar codes are being used in some interesting ways. Visit HowStuffWorks to learn everything about 2-D bar codes.

By Jonathan Atteberry & Austin Henderson