Like some kind of corporate Freaky Friday, Yahama tasked its motorcycle design team with making some instrument concepts -- and asked the opposite of its instrument design team. With no constraints like commercial viability, designers were able to (and did) go to town. While the fruits were revealed back in the spring, the company has publicly exhibited the results over the weekend to the well-heeled residents of Roppongi, Tokyo. Here's a closer look.

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It's the Fourth of July and while that light show in the sky honors US independence, why not shine a little light on our DIY perseverance? To help celebrate this holiday, we've put together a collection of (even more) ingenious hacks that incorporate party essentials: lights, nighttime, fireworks, music, drinks and a bit of wild imagination. Want to watch the celebrations on TV like it's still the '80s? Will pumping up the volume help you fight fires? And just how do you innovate something as simple as sliced bread? DIY fanatics and gadget hacker extraordinaires have already done the legwork. All you need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the (slide)show.

[Image: Styropyro / YouTube]

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Leica is known for making cameras that are too expensive for most people. Its latest one, the Leica Q (Typ 116), is no exception. You can tell a lot about its high value simply by glancing at it; the gorgeous magnesium alloy and matte black finish makes it look exquisitely premium. There are also little details around the chassis to make you further appreciate its design, including an area that allows your thumb to rest comfortably while you're shooting. At roughly 23 ounces (640 grams), the Q isn't exactly lightweight, but doesn't feel heavy either -- its mass is distributed perfectly throughout. But OK, enough about the appearance. How does this $4,250 camera actually perform in the real world?

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After the failure of the Fire Phone and the so-so Fire TV, it was hard to get excited about Amazon's $180 Echo wireless speaker. At best, it seemed like a superfluous device that simply mimicked voice-powered tech from our phones in monolithic speaker form. At worst, it felt like yet another way for the company to insert itself into your life -- all in an effort to make you buy more crap from Amazon. I'll admit, I wasn't in any rush to nab an Echo of my own after it was first announced (Prime members with a special invite were able to get it for $99). And, curiously, Amazon didn't make review units available at the time, either. But now that Echo is widely available to everyone, I was finally able to get my hands on one to test out. Surprisingly enough, I ended up falling for it big time.

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It's only natural for an entertainment corporation as massive as The Walt Disney Company, with IP holdings that span the likes of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, to be exploring the potential of virtual reality. It's something John Vignocchi, VP of production at Disney Interactive, the division behind toys-to-life platform Disney Infinity, confirmed when we chatted a few weeks back. But when it comes to Infinity, the future focus seems to be weighted more toward augmented reality. "We've had multiple meetings and discussions with Oculus, multiple meetings and discussions with Sony about Morpheus, multiple meetings and discussions with Microsoft about HoloLens. We're very interested in that space," Vignocchi said. "There's the socialization problem right now with VR, but augmented reality is very exciting."

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Living with the Galaxy S6 Edge: Is that curve worth the cost?

Samsung launched two Galaxy S6 models this spring, but let's face it: The spotlight was really on the curvy, attention-grabbing S6 Edge. I know I was dead-set on trying that one-of-a-kind smartphone as soon as I could. However, I couldn't help but wonder if it was really, truly worth the $100 premium to turn heads and score a couple of clever features. Moreover, would that design actually hold up in the real world? There was only one way for me to find out. I spent several weeks with the Edge to see whether its curved display would grow on me, or if I'd be desperately wishing I had made the safer choice and snagged the regular S6. As it turns out, the answer was a bit of both.

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AMC, Humans

Early on in AMC's newest sci-fi show, Humans, a teenager wonders aloud if there's any point in going to college and spending years training to be a neurosurgeon. After all, why invest all that time and work when an advanced android, which are commonplace in the show's world, can be programmed with those skills almost instantly. Call it the death of human expertise. Meanwhile, her mother is worried that her family's new "synth" (the show's term for androids) might replace her; her father hopes it can bring her family back together; and her teenaged brother is having sexually confused feelings about their attractive new robot helper. In Humans, the problems of the near future are practically indistinguishable from the issues we're facing today. And that's a big part of why the show works so well.

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SONY DSC

'Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson' is a collaboration between IBM and the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Once a week, as part of an ongoing series, we'll be preparing one recipe from the book until we've made all of them. Wish us luck.

So this is how I knew I was in trouble the first time I saw Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson (which, by the way, only happened after I agreed to cook my way through the book): there's a specific section for home cooks and it's only seven recipes long. This particular section of the book is a bit different from the rest. For it IBM partnered with Bon Appétit and trimmed the reservoir of recipes that Watson was riffing off of to just the 9,000 or so already in the publication's database. The results are much more friendly for those that don't have access to an commercial kitchen, but they're no less interesting from a flavor profile and serve as evidence that even mortal humans can benefit from Watson's creative kick in the pants.

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Photography reached the mainstream early on; Kodak's Brownie made daily snapshots accessible and Polaroid's pioneering cameras provided instant gratification. Now we can capture and share moments on a whim with smartphones packing high-resolution optics. Over the years, though, we've been treated to some incredible imaging hacks that've allowed our eyes to travel into the exotic -- far beyond what you had for dinner last night. Technological leaps in the field have been spurred by bets, accidents and imagination, providing both scientific insight and artistic experimentation. Our eyes have been opened wider than ever before and we've collected just a few moments in imaging's history to help grasp the bigger picture.

[Image: Google Research]

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Dirk Ahlborn is two hours behind schedule, and it's no surprise, since the project that he represents has the potential to change the world. He's the CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, one of the firms that's dedicated to building those high-speed tubes people of the future are always traveling in. It's got so much potential that you can even see hope in the eyes of the people standing in his presence, waiting for their turn to speak to the German. You might have heard that Elon Musk dreamed up this idea, but it's Ahlborn who's most likely to make it a reality. Say hello to Mr. Hyperloop.

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Supercomputers are dreaming up crazy new ways to cook the food that we have today, but will we eat the same things in the future? For instance, when news of California's drought began to hit, people wondered if switching to a diet rich in insects would be the only way to survive. A variety of factors, most notably the face you pulled when someone suggests insects in place of a McCheeseburger, was why that idea crashed and burned. So what sort of food will we be eating in our resource constrained, population-heavy future, aside from, you know, people? Here's two companies exhibiting at Hello Tomorrow in Paris that have very different ideas on the snacks of 2020.

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Despite Facebook's insistence that its "real names" policy keeps its users safe, a new report reveals that Facebook is the least safe place for women online. And things are turning more explosive, as stories emerge that Facebook has been changing its users' names without their consent -- and the company isn't allowing them to remove their real names from their accounts. Meanwhile, a furious LGBT coalition has rallied around the safety threats posed to its communities by the policy. Though, it was unsuccessful in blocking the company from marching in America's largest gay pride parade.

Facebook's ongoing war on pseudonyms became well-documented in 2011 when a blogger risking her life to report on crime in Honduras was suspended by the company, under its rule requiring everyone to use their real name on the social network. The problem re-emerged in September 2014 when Facebook's policy locked an eye-opening number of LGBT accounts in violation of the "real names" rule. Facebook met with Bay Area LGBT community representatives, offered an apology, then suggested a policy change was in the works. Surprise: It never came. Nine months later, Facebook has failed to solidify or clarify this policy, and one organization has bad news for Facebook's years of "real name" policy implementation.

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