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Technology

Innovations that shape our world

Since early humans first tended fires and sharpened spears, we’ve sought to apply our knowledge to shape the natural world to suit our needs. Here we chronicle the promise and pitfalls of this basic human drive in all its present day manifestations – from robots and AI to nanotechnology and materials to devices, transportation, engineering and manmade disasters.

An experiment off the coast of California may bolster efforts to make biocrude from "the Sequoia of the sea."

Katharine Gammon, Contributor

Scientists found that some early commercial lithium batteries held up pretty well after about 35 years in storage.

Catherine Meyers, Editor

The rechargeable, lightweight batteries revolutionized the way we power a host of devices.

Catherine Meyers, Editor

Image shows a robotic fish mid-frame, with three mosquitofish swimming nearby.

A mechanical predator could stress an invasive species of freshwater fish to the point that they may reproduce less.

Charles Q. Choi, Contributor

New technology could lower the cost of ultrasound machines

Karin Heineman, Executive Producer

Researchers developed a way to weld pieces of brittle ceramics together using a laser that fires a million times per second.

Yuen Yiu, Staff Writer

Girl wearing a VR headset and facing away from the camera looks up while a window backlights the scene.

Virtual reality makes between 40% and 70% of people feel nauseated. Experts are trying to figure out why.

Meeri Kim, Contributor

By mimicking the structure of mother-of-pearl, scientists have made a glass that's less likely to shatter when hit.

Charles Q. Choi, Contributor

Researchers have embedded gold particles in soft films that dissipate light energy at the surface of the eye and could have future medical uses.

Bailey Bedford, Contributor

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