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When you picture a consumer drone, something bulky with four or six props à la DJI probably pops to mind. But the folks behind a new model on Kickstarter think that such UAVs have two big problems -- namely, they're hard to carry and break easily if you mess up. They built The Sprite to overcome those limitations with a cylindrical, waterproof body and retractable blades. The design makes it easy to throw it into a pack, and when landing, the rotors halt in a half a second and fold into a retracted position. From there, the craft can safely alight on rocks, a bush or even a swamp without issues.

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Photos on Android

Wondering what will happen when Android's Photos app finally makes a clean break from Google+? You should now have a pretty good idea. Android Police has peeked at a leaked copy of a reworked Photos app, and it's clear that Google is using the service split as an incentive to shake things up. The highlight may be Assistant (below), an effective substitute for Auto Awesome that gives you more creative power -- you can produce more content yourself (such as Stories) instead of waiting for it to show up. The interface should also be more intuitive across the board, with more options for viewing your photos, a better editing interface, privacy-minded sharing and pinch-to-zoom gestures for opening pictures. There's a chance these features could change or disappear before they're official, but it won't be surprising if you see this Photos redesign on the Google I/O stage this week.

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Instagram from one Mr. Steele

Instagram's photographic social feed isn't as novel as it once was, and you may be tempted to stop using it if you're overwhelmed by that never-ending stream of square pictures. How is the company supposed to keep you coming back for more? Though regular email blasts, apparently. TechCrunch has confirmed that Instagram is now sending "Highlights," email digests that showcase some of the better photos from those you follow. While this see-what-you're-missing strategy isn't new (Facebook and Twitter have done this for a while), it acknowledges that only some of Instagram's 300 million users are active shutterbugs -- this could help you remember the service and catch photos that would otherwise slip under the radar. Yes, the highlights are ultimately meant to get you viewing more ads, but they may be useful if you'd rather not spend every day wading through an image stream.

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Rick Baker and 'Mikey' from Men in Black

If you're a movie buff who can't get enough of Hollywood's monsters, you might want to brace your wallet for impact. Famed special effects guru Rick Baker is auctioning over 400 items from his collection, including animatronics that were key to livening up aliens, apes and other creatures in big movies ranging from Gremlins 2 to the Men in Black series. The amount of technology involved might surprise you -- in many cases, what you saw on screen was just a small part of what was going on. The bidding doesn't start until the 29th, but we've rounded up some of the highlights in the gallery below if you can't wait to see what's up for grabs.

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Aria is a small add-on that clips underneath a smartwatch band and lets you control the device with finger gestures. It's an accessory for an accessory, which sounds kind of ridiculous, but it's not like you have a lot of choices when it comes to adding gesture control to your gadget anyway. The remote control-like clip-on can access any feature you'd usually access through the touch screen or the watch dial, completely freeing up your other hand for tasks like eating, drinking or talking on the phone. Possible gestures include tapping, flicking your fingers, and closing and opening your hand -- you can configure it all through its companion app.

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Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.

Inhabitat's Week in Green

Everything about Tesla is groundbreaking, including its direct-sales model. Laws in New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Michigan have sought to prevent the electric carmaker from bypassing third-party dealerships and selling cars directly to customers. Last week, Tesla scored a big win in Maryland, when the state's governor signed a bill allowing the company to operate its own dealerships in the state. In other green transportation news, a 28-year-old woman is preparing to row all the way from Japan to San Francisco in a rowboat, with no support vessel. Airplane manufacturers have yet to unlock the potential of 3D-printing airplane parts, but the engineers at GE Aviation recently conducted a test, offering a possible glimpse of the future. The team created a mini jet engine that can roar up to 33,000 RPM, and it comes right out of a 3D printer.

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ZTE Open C running Firefox OS

Outside of one or two exceptions, most Firefox OS devices have been aimed squarely at the budget crowd -- at folks who would otherwise have to entirely forego smartphoness or tablets. However, Mozilla is ready to switch things up. The organization has unveiled a new strategy, Ignite, that should lead to Firefox OS gadgets you want to buy "because of the experience" rather than the price tag, according to CEO Chris Beard. Just what that entails isn't clear, but there's little doubt that this means a shift toward higher-end (though not necessarily flagship-class) hardware.

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Ever tried looking at the sun with your bare eyes? Too bright, right? Now imagine looking at something with the brightness of 300 trillion suns. That's how intense "the most luminous galaxy found to date" is, so much so that NASA has created a new classification for it and the 19 other similar galaxies it has discovered: extremely luminous infrared galaxies, or ELIRGs. Scientists have recently spotted the ELIRGs in infrared images of the sky taken by the agency's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope in 2010. This particular one is located 12.5 billion light years away, which means it started forming soon after the universe was born 13.8 billion years ago. As for why it's so incredibly brilliant, NASA JPL scientist Chao-Wei Tsai says it "may be from the main growth spurt of the galaxy's black hole."

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Human DNA sequencing

Gene sequencing, once a rare feat, is pretty common these days... but how do you know that your DNA data is up to snuff? As of now, there's an easy way to find out. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released reference genetic material that serves as a "measuring stick" for human gene sequencing. Researchers have tested this sample genome so thoroughly that it'll tell labs whether or not they're making typical mistakes, and ensure that their results are trustworthy. The hope is that you'll see bulletproof sequencing devices that take the anxiety out of pinpointing genetic conditions or understanding your ancestry.

[Image credit: Gerald Barber, Virginia Tech University (with permission of the National Science Foundation)]

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Pardon me while I say something that might not be entirely popular: Software updates are pretty awesome. Maybe not so much for game consoles, but, I digress because the Curiosity rover recently received a patch that improved the autofocus of its "ChemCam" telescope. Over the air. On Mars. Before the update, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory would take nine pictures of a subject (each at a different focus) to get one usable close-up image of any of the Red Planet's rocks and soils, and send them back home. Same goes for any sample analyses the laser was doing. The problem is that for those analyses to be anywhere remotely useful, the telescope projecting said laser needs to be in focus and the workaround in place wasn't very efficient.

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