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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.

Physicists are exploring new ways to improve the accuracy of global clock networks essential to applications such as GPS.

Yuen Yiu, Staff Writer

Researchers examining the future of self-driving cars believe we can't expect to take our eyes off the road any time soon.

Katharine Gammon, Contributor

Canadian company shows that hydrocarbon fuel made from captured CO2 could compete with fossil fuels.

Tracy Staedter, Contributor

The major war between law enforcement and cell phone manufacturers is mostly over.

Joel Shurkin, Contributor

As law enforcement increasingly uses body-worn cameras, researchers are studying the roles of camera design and perspective.

Katharine Gammon, Contributor

Using a device typically engaged to study rockets, researchers examined how whales hear.

James Gaines, Contributor

Before learning what can be done with graphene, we need to know what can be done to graphene.

Yuen Yiu, Staff Writer

The noble gas can help bring atoms together.

Charles Q. Choi, Contributor

Scientists are developing a "living sensor" that eats hydrocarbons to monitor the country's extensive network of petroleum pipelines.

Tracy Staedter, Contributor

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