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Weekly rewind: CES pandemonium, BlackBerry’s back, a useful exoskeleton

In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on that it’s almost impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top 10 tech stories, from everything that happened at CES 2017 to the new BlackBerry — it’s all here.

CES 2017

Every year, technological titans and scrappy startups alike descend on Las Vegas to show off the amazing products they’ve been quietly toiling away on all year – and offer consumers a glimpse at the future. There’s something new lurking around every corner at CES, the annual consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, and with 32 football fields worth of show floor, there are a lot of corners. We’re proud to say we turned them all to bring you the most comprehensive coverage you’ll find anywhere.

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BlackBerry Mercury: Our first take

BlackBerry kicked its own BlackBerry Operating System to the curb last year in favor of the more popular Android OS, and no longer manufactures its own phones, but that doesn’t mean they’re dead. Rather, BlackBerry has partnered with TCL to release Android phones under the BlackBerry brand name. The latest device, revealed behind closed doors at CES 2017, doesn’t have a name yet, so we’ll rely on its internet code name — which BlackBerry suggested — of “Mercury.”

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Facebook celebrates 2016 by showing off its best hackathon-developed products

2016 was a year of innovation for Facebook, and to celebrate, the company has named some of its favorite projects and products that came from its hackathons at its offices around the world during the year. Among the items on the list are a richer and more detailed Safety Check, “adaptive attachments,” and instant verification for Android. All in all, Facebook’s 2016 was a pretty productive one.

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Latest version of HDMI comes packing support for 8K resolution and Dynamic HDR

You might only think of HDMI as the type of cable you use to connect your TV, cable box, streaming media player, and other home theater gear, but it’s also a standard that defines just what type of signals can be transmitted from one piece of equipment to another. On Wednesday, the HDMI Forum announced the latest version of the specification, HDMI 2.1, and it includes some major improvements over the previous version.

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Hackers are now using WhatsApp to target unsuspecting users

Looking to keep your digital information secure? In that case, you should avoid opening attachments you aren’t totally sure are safe. Hackers are using WhatsApp to send Word documents that look legit, but end up being viruses that can steal your personal information — including banking data and login credentials.

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Ludicrous? No, Faraday Future’s Tesla-fighting FF 91 is downright unbelievable

The consequence of success is a massive target on your back. This has never been more apparent than in the electric vehicle space, because the industry leader — Tesla — has more heat on its tail than a Spitfire during the Battle of Britain. From Lucid Motors to Porsche to Chevrolet, everyone wants to take Tesla’s spot at the top, but few brands are making bigger waves than Faraday Future. At CES 2017, the brand made its biggest wave yet.

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Rapael exoskeleton hand and gaming system is designed for rehabilitation

Physical rehabilitation is a time-consuming, energy-draining, oft-demotivating endeavor. But a company called Neofect hopes to change that with it’s line of Rapael rehabilitation products, which use a biofeedback gaming system to empower patients through their therapy. Neofect’s flagship product is the Rapael Smart Glove, a Bluetooth glove that’s packed with sensors to measure finger and wrist movements.

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IBM’s ‘5 in 5’ predicts what crazy scientific inventions may emerge in the next few years

IBM has decided to take another stab at the idea in its annual IBM 5 in 5 predictions, in which the company uses market and societal trends to predict scientific innovations that will revolutionize our lives in the next half decade. This year, the tech giant considered what instruments might make the invisible visible. Here are its predictions.

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MIT study: NYC’s taxi fleet could be replaced by 3,000 ridesharing vehicles

CSAIL’s Daniela Rus and her team created an algorithm that crunched data from 3 million New York City taxi rides, calculating routes and schedules for two-person, four-person, and 10-person vehicles. The results showed that 3,000 four-person cabs could help handle 98 percent of the city’s demand (with a waiting time of 2.3 minutes), while 3,000 two-person cabs could handle 94 percent and just 2,000 ten-person vehicles could handle 95 percent.

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Apple is investing a whopping $1 billion in the SoftBank Vision Fund for emerging tech

It looks like Apple wants to play a bigger role in the advancement of emerging technologies — the company has confirmed that it is investing a whopping $1 billion in the Softbank Fund. The investment will help as the SoftBank Fund aims to close initial funding by the end of the month, with a final close expected sometime in mid-2017, according to an article from the Wall Street Journal. Apple joins a growing list of large tech companies — including Qualcomm and Foxconn — that have also invested in the fund.

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