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Weekly Rewind: Your smart home's universal remote, the problem with Soylent, robotic snake surgery

weekly rewind top tech stories 11 2016 wr head
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 the top 10 tech stories from this week. Everything from what we know about the foldable Samsung Galaxy X to what Microsoft hopes to see from a Trump presidency, it’s all here.

Samsung Galaxy X: Rumors and news leaks


You might think the Samsung Edge display is cool, but something cooler is coming very soon. Samsung has been working on foldable displays for many years now, and the Korean giant might be ready to launch its first foldable smartphone in 2017. Information about the phone, which has been dubbed the Galaxy X for now, has slowly been leaking out, and here’s everything we think we know about it so far.

Read the full story here.

Do humans make computers smarter?


As machine learning makes computers smarter than us in some important ways, does adding a human to the mix make the overall system smarter? Does human plus machine always beat the machine by itself? The question is easy when we think about using computers to do, say, long division. Would it really help to have a human hovering over the machine reminding it to carry the one? The issue is becoming less clear, and more important, as autonomous cars start to roam our streets.

Read the full story here.

New report indicates Americans ditched news apps once election fatigue set in


Whatever side of the fence you were on, the election process this time around was a long one. A new report from Flurry, an analytics firm, highlights just how disinterested in following political news Americans became since the first presidential debate. The report shows this through tracking the use of news apps. So how much did election fatigue really kick in?

Read the full story here.

When silent mode isn’t enough, seal your phone in the signal-killing Pause box


It’s difficult to disconnect. At home, at work, in the meeting room, even in the bathroom — our smartphones are always on and always with us. But the creators of a small container called Pause want to effectively shut your smartphone down, and they don’t think you have the willpower to do it alone. And let’s face it, they’re probably right.

Read the full story here.

Sevenhugs’s Smart Remote is a magic wand for your smart home


In theory, smart homes promise untold convenience. Controlling every upstairs lightbulb, bedroom blind, garage door lock, speaker, TV, and kitchen appliance from your smartphone sounds like a future straight out of science fiction. But in practice, the systems aren’t as plug-and-play as the flashy advertisements lead you to believe. That’s the usability problem that Paris, France-based company Sevenhugs set out to solve.

After killing the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung is now looking to reduce its environmental impact


As of October 11, the Galaxy Note 7 has been put out of its misery by Samsung. The company announced the end of production for the beleaguered smartphone just a day after it halted sales and a short while after limiting the numbers being made at its factories. In a statement, Samsung said it is “putting consumer safety as top priority,” and “reached a final decision to halt production of the Galaxy Note 7.” Now, a few weeks later, the firm is looking for ways to “limit the potential environmental impact” of all those useless handsets.

Read the full story here.

Microsoft lays out its hopes for a Trump presidency


We’ve heard how Silicon Valley has reacted with disappointment and uncertainty over what President Donald Trump means for tech-related policy. Microsoft on the other hand has gone into a little more detail about the relationship it wants with the president-elect. In a blog post published the day after the election, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, offered his congratulations to Trump while making it clear that there was a great deal of work ahead for both sides.

Read the full story here.

These smart customizable e-sneakers have real sole


Looking for a way to swagger down the street like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, while silently informing your fellow citizens that you’re a tech-savvy early adopter? If this oddly specific fantasy happens to be one you share, you may want to check out a new Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that offers what its creators claim are the “world’s first customizable mid-top E-sneakers.”

Read the full story here.

Snake robots will crawl up your nose to help surgeons perform surgery on you


Does the idea of a snake robot that enters your body via your nose or urethra — i.e., the duct in the end of the penis through which fluids are conveyed — sound like the stuff of nightmares? Well, forget any temporary thoughts of discomfort because such a robot may just save your life one day. A bioengineering professor at Vanderbilt University, Nabil Simaan, has been busy developing snake-like robots for more than a decade.

Read the full story here.

Soylent determines why its products were making people sick


Soylent halted all shipments of the nutrition snack bar and advised consumers to throw out all bars currently in their possession last month. Detailed in an official blog post on the company site, Soylent issued this recall after a “small number” of customers reported gastrointestinal issues after eating a Food Bar. Just a few weeks later, the company is pulling more of its products, namely its latest powdered drink, Soylent 1.6. Now, the company believes it’s identified the culprit behind all those complaints: algal flour.

Read the full story here.

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