In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on, in fact, 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 the top 10 tech stories from over the Thanksgiving holiday. Everything from the homemade lightsabers to a preview of CES 2016 — it’s all here.
Samsung will show three exciting projects being worked on by C-Lab, its secretive in-house workshop, at CES 2016. It’ll be the first time Samsung will publicly demonstrate the innovative technology that’s being created inside C-Lab. The company has singled out three projects it feels will make the right impact at the Las Vegas event — the WELT fitness belt, the Rink VR controller, and TipTalk, which is a new way to hear sounds generated by a mobile device.
AT&T confirmed it will end two-year contracts on January 8, 2016 for its smartphone service plans. Currently, AT&T is the only major U.S. carrier offering contracts on its website. T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon all killed contracts recently. After January 8, the carrier will sell smartphones at full retail price or through installment plans like its current Next program. All four of the major carriers currently offer similar plans for buying phones, and that will soon be the only option available to customers.
Though dust has hardly settled on NASA’s triumphant budget increase doled out by members of Congress this month, the agency is already hard at work proving it deserves the extra funding. Its next order of business? Heed Congress’ instruction to develop a sufficient prototype model of a deep space habitat by no later than 2018. For those glancing at the calendar, 2018 is just two short years away, meaning NASA has roughly 730 days to show off what could likely shape deep space travel for dozens of decades. No pressure.
Known for his insane laser creations, laser modder and YouTube personality Drake Anthony, aka Styropyro, is back with a new project in honor of the latest Star Wars movie. To keep up with the growing number of lightsaber DIYs on YouTube, Styropyro decided to join in on the fun by upgrading his 3W handheld lightsaber from a few years ago to an impressive, if dangerous, 7w version. The 7W lightsaber quickly lights things on fire and can blind you instantly and permanently if misused.
Over the past few weeks, pirated copies of a number of films have been leaked, including The Revenant and Quentin Tarantino’s latest, The Hateful Eight, which was leaked before it even arrived in theaters. Unlike many films leaked prior to or during release, the quality of the leaked films was very good. Release group Hive-CM8 claimed to be behind the leaks, as well as pirated versions of Joy, Steve Jobs, Creed, and Bridge of Spies.
Next page: 5 more tech stories you might have missed this week