Martyn WilliamsSenior U.S. Correspondent, IDG News Service

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Martyn Williams covers Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for the IDG News Service, and is based in San Francisco.

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Drones present minimal threat to aircraft, says study

Just how likely is it that a drone hits an aircraft and causes a death or injury? Not very, according to research from George Mason University. The study suggests the Federal Aviation Administration could significantly loosen rules regarding private drone use and not endanger general aviation.

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Almost 400,000 drones are registered with the FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration's drone registration system is about to hit the 400,000 mark, three months after it was launched.

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The US will see an amazing total solar eclipse in 2017

If images of this week's eclipse whetted your appetite for the real thing and you live in the U.S., you don't have long to wait. In August 2017, a total solar eclipse will be seen in a path that crosses the entire country -- the first time in almost 100 years that this has happened.

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Facebook shows off progress in using lasers to deliver Internet

A key part of Facebook's ambitious plan to deliver Internet connectivity via drone is an air-to-ground laser link that will connect the high-flying aircraft to the Internet, and on Tuesday, Facebook showed off important progress it's made in realizing that technology.

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Space X fails again at a sea landing

For the fourth time, Space X has failed at the difficult task of landing a rocket on a platform bobbing up and down in the middle of the ocean.

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US says cyber battle against ISIS will 'black these guys out'

The U.S. is aggressively targeting ISIS in cyberspace, attempting to halt the group's ability to communicate electronically, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Thursday.

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The U.S. military is shooting these creepy robot dummies to make better Marines

They're not the kind of thing you might expect to see on a battlefield, but a four-wheeled robot recently tested by the U.S. Marines could help make better soldiers.

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DOD to invite security experts to Hack the Pentagon

The Department of Defense plans to ask computer security experts to Hack the Pentagon as part of a push to improve its cyber defenses.

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Eric Schmidt to head new Pentagon innovation advisory board

Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt will head a new DOD advisory board aimed at helping the U.S. military forge closer ties with Silicon Valley.

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FBI director admits mistake was made with San Bernardino iCloud reset

The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has conceded it was a mistake to ask San Bernadino County to reset the password of an iCloud account that had been used by gunman Syed Farook.

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DJI's Phantom 4 drone avoids obstacles, tracks humans

The latest drone in DJI's popular Phantom series can track humans and dodge obstacles. The enhancements make the Phantom 4 one of the most advanced consumer drones on the market, and further lower the barrier to flight for most consumers. But the technology comes with a sizable price tag.

People trusted this robot in an emergency, even when it led them astray

pcworld.com

When it comes to robots, humans are perhaps a little too trusting. In a series of experiments at Georgia Tech that simulated a building fire, people ignored emergency exit signs and followed instructions from a guidance robot—even after being told the robot was faulty.

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VR just got serious and you should be paying attention

If you haven't been paying much attention to virtual reality, now might be a good time to start. In a series of announcements at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, some of the biggest names in smartphones, consumer electronics and social media have given the technology a major boost.

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Xiaomi's U.S. debut is 'on the radar,' says Hugo Barra

China's top smartphone maker is thinking about launching its phones in the U.S., the head of its international business said Wednesday.

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Xiaomi unveils low-cost, high-powered Mi 5 smartphone

The first new flagship smartphone in over a year from China's Xiaomi packs technology to match the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S7, but at around half the price.