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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.

Robotic bugs may someday help in search and rescue.

Marcus Woo, Contributor

Scientists look to nature to make a glue that can bind wet surfaces together.

Yuen Yiu, Staff Writer

A new machine learning model can efficiently identify the distorted text many websites use to block bots.

Catherine Meyers, Editor

Tethered balloons equipped with sophisticated cameras can survey threats and damage from an elevated perspective.

Peter Gwynne, Contributor

The technology is progressing quickly, but the main challenge may be overcoming our fears.

Brian Owens, Contributor

Cryo-electron microscopy helps scientists see the structure of biomolecules down to each individual atom.

Catherine Meyers, Editor

So-called cryo-electron microscopy can see the atoms of biological proteins in water.

Catherine Meyers, Editor

By wearing different self-folding exoskeletons, a robot can move, roll, float and glide.

Marcus Woo, Contributor

Scientists and engineers are exploring many strategies to cut the energy that powers modern computing.

Charles Q. Choi, Contributor

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