Innovation

Mickey Mouse turns 90

It is hard to believe, but Mickey Mouse is celebrating his 90th birthday this year. For an old mouse, he still looks pretty spry! One of the world’s most universally recognized and enduring personalities, Mickey Mouse sailed into our lives on November 18, 1928.

Adventures in collecting: Kenneth Salisbury's robot hand

A visitor to Kenneth Salisbury's Stanford University office can't miss the evidence of his life-long fascination with hands, a fascination that would lead to an incredible invention.

“This is 9-1-1. What is your emergency?”: A history of raising the alarm

At 2 p.m. on February 16, 1968, a special red telephone rang at the police station in Haleyville, Alabama. The call marked the first use of the emergency number 9-1-1, a technological answer to a life-and-death question—how do you get help quickly in the event of an emergency?

Smart phones: Collecting an electronic montage

New inventions always build on inventions of the past—and sometimes more than one. Few devices demonstrate that more clearly than smartphones. These technological marvels pack a battery-powered telephone, camera, radio, television, computer, flashlight, and more into one pocket-sized package. In addition to the hardware, there's the software, both the apps and the coding that makes the hardware function as a single device.

A seven-year struggle to build New York's subway

William Steinway spent seven years being confronted with every conceivable obstacle to planning a subway for New York City.

Sneaky 1960s rabies prevention inventions

Anyone who endured a terrifying childhood screening of "Old Yeller" can testify that the ghastly symptoms of rabies, as well as its transmission via the bite of an infected animal, make rabies a particularly feared and fabled disease.

An-tee-bodies: T-shirts in celebration of the antibody

When did you first learn about your immune system? Maybe you have childhood memories of being vaccinated, hearing about the protection your body was building through antibodies.

Now you're cooking with electricity!

Before Alton Brown, Rachael Ray, and Giada De Laurentiis, there was Louisan Mamer (1910–2005). An early employee of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), Mamer traveled around the country teaching farmwomen how to use electricity in their daily lives. Demonstrating how to cook with electricity was a major part of Mamer's job and she developed many recipes during the course of her career.

When real patriots got Tetanus

By the beginning of the 20th century our love of colorful explosions and loud bangs brought with it a scourge: a deadly infection that became known as "patriotic tetanus."

Innovations in Defense

Mayhem Cyber Reasoning System, 2016

Hacked servers. Phishing scams. Computer viruses, trojan horses, and worms. Spam. Adware, spyware, and botnets. Not all innovations seek to benefit society. Mayhem, on exhibit in 1 West (the “Innovation Wing”) is the first artificial intelligence cyber defense system designed specifically to thwart attacks on our increasingly interconnected—and vulnerable—devices.

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