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Edd Gent

Edd Gent

I am a freelance science and technology writer based in Bangalore, India. My main areas of interest are engineering, computing and biology, with a particular focus on the intersections between the three.

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From This Author


As Algorithms Take Over More of the Economy, We Should Cede Control (Very) Carefully

Algorithms play an increasingly prominent part in our lives, governing everything from the news we see to the products we buy. As they proliferate, experts say, we need to make sure they don't collude...

MIT Report: Robots Aren’t the Biggest Threat to the Future of Work—Policy Is

Fears of a robot-driven jobs apocalypse are a recurring theme in the media. But a new report from MIT has found that technology is creating as many jobs as it destroys, and bad policy...

90% of the Global Power Capacity Added in 2020 Will Be Renewable

There’s been plenty of hand-wringing about the potential for the Covid-19 pandemic to distract from the ongoing fight against climate change. But the latest data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows promising signs...

The International Space Station Is Ailing. Its Replacement Will Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Humans have now had a continuous presence in space for 20 years thanks to the International Space Station (ISS), but the facility is unlikely to survive into the next decade. What comes next could...

Virtual Power Plants Could Help Solve Our Energy Needs. But What Are They?

Building a greener, more resilient grid will be essential in the coming decades if we want to slow the pace of climate change and cope with the disasters it can cause. One promising way...

How Giving Robots a Hybrid, Human-Like ‘Brain’ Can Make Them Smarter

Squeezing a lot of computing power into robots without using up too much space or energy is a constant battle for their designers. But a new approach that mimics the structure of the human...

Scientists Just Achieved Room Temperature Superconductivity for the First Time

Superconductivity could be the key to groundbreaking new technologies in energy, computing, and transportation, but so far it only occurs in materials chilled close to absolute zero. Now researchers have created the first ever...

Space Mining Should Be a Global Project—But It’s Not Starting Off That Way

Exploiting the resources of outer space might be key to the future expansion of the human species. But researchers argue that the US is trying to skew the game in its favor, with potentially...

New Reactor Design Could Produce First Ever Energy-Positive Fusion Reaction

Nuclear fusion has gone from a scientists’ pipe dream to a technology attracting serious investment. Now one of the startups chasing this holy grail of energy production has published a series of peer-reviewed scientific...

IBM Plans to Have a 1,000-Qubit Quantum Computer by 2023

The point at which quantum computers transition from expensive science experiments to a technology that could reshape the future always seems about a decade away. But a new technology roadmap from IBM suggests that...

Nvidia’s Arm Acquisition Brings the Two Key Technologies of This Century Under One Roof

Artificial intelligence and mobile computing have been two of the most disruptive technologies of this century. The unification of the two companies that made them possible could have wide-ranging consequences for the future of...

This Microchip Has Its Own Built-In Cooling System

As we pack electronics into ever smaller packages, dealing with the heat they produce is becoming a growing challenge. Now researchers have developed a liquid cooling system integrated directly within a microchip that dramatically...

A New Breakthrough Just Brought City-Wide Quantum Communication Into Reach

A quantum internet promises a truly unhackable way to communicate, but most proposals so far only link two users at a time and require costly infrastructure. Now researchers have demonstrated the first city-wide quantum...

Could Quantum Computing Progress Be Halted by Background Radiation?

Doing calculations with a quantum computer is a race against time, thanks to the fragility of the quantum states at their heart. And new research suggests we may soon hit a wall in how...

Scientists Used Protein Switches to Turn T Cells Into Cancer-Fighting Guided Missiles

One of the main challenges in curing cancer is that unlike foreign invaders, tumor cells are part of the body and so able to hide in plain sight. Now researchers have found a way...

Scientists Found a Way to Turn Bricks Into Batteries

One of the biggest barriers to the renewable energy revolution is working out how to store power when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow. Now scientists have shown standard construction bricks...

New Algorithm Paves the Way Towards Error-Free Quantum Computing

No one likes noise when they’re working through a difficult problem. Quantum computers are no different, and now researchers have devised a new way to estimate how noise can throw their calculations off, a...

Construction of the World’s Biggest Nuclear Fusion Plant Just Started in France

Fusion power promises to provide limitless green energy using cheap and abundant fuel, but it’s a long-running joke that it’s always 20 years away. Last week, though, construction started on the ITER fusion plant...

A New Brain-Inspired Learning Method for AI Saves Memory and Energy

Despite the frequent analogies, today’s AI operates on very different principles to the human brain. Now researchers have proposed a new learning method more closely tied to biology, which they think could help us...

For the First Time, Scientists Fully Sequenced the Human X Chromosome

The sequencing of the human genome was one of the greatest scientific feats of the past century, but it’s a little-known fact that it’s still a work in progress with considerable gaps. New research...

This Robotic Chemist Does Over 600 Experiments a Week and Learns From Its Own Work

AI is being widely applied to speed up the search for new drugs and new materials that could dramatically improve critical technologies like batteries and solar panels. Most of this work is done in...

AI Behaving Badly: New Model Could Help AI Make More Ethical Choices

The ethics of AI is a hot topic at the minute, particularly with the ongoing controversies around facial recognition software. Now mathematicians have developed a model that can help businesses spot when commercial AI...

New Report Predicts Tech Could Fuel an Age of Freedom—or Make Civilization Collapse

With rapid technological progress running headlong into dramatic climate change and widening inequality, most experts agree the coming decade will be tumultuous. But a new report predicts it could actually make or break civilization...

A New Startup Intends to Build the World’s First Large-Scale Quantum Computer

An ambitious plan to build a quantum computer the size of a soccer field could soon become a reality. A startup founded by the researchers behind the idea has just come out of stealth...

China Takes Another Step Towards Uncrackable Quantum Communication

Uncrackable quantum communication is a step closer after Chinese researchers demonstrated a practical way to share security keys over 1,120 kilometers using entangled photons sent and received by satellites. In 2017, a team lead by...

Computing Power Can Keep Growing as Moore’s Law Winds Down. Here’s How

Moore's Law is faltering, but that doesn't mean the end of progress in processing power. Rather than relying on semiconductor physics and silicon-fabrication technology, though, we need to turn to innovations in software, algorithms,...

Carbon Nanotube Transistors May Soon Give Waning Moore’s Law a Boost

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have long been touted as a potential material to take us beyond the limits of faltering silicon chips, but they've proven tricky to manufacture. Now scientists have demonstrated a way to...

A New Bionic Eye Could Give Robots and the Blind 20/20 Vision

A bionic eye could restore sight to the blind and greatly improve robotic vision, but current visual sensors are a long way from the impressive attributes of nature’s design. Now researchers have found a...

Here Are the Results of the Biggest Universal Basic Income Trial Yet

Widespread job losses due to the coronavirus pandemic are leading to renewed interest in the idea of a universal basic income (UBI). That coincided perfectly with publication of the results of the biggest UBI...

Hacking Plant Life: Artificial Photosynthesis Takes a Leap Forward

All life on earth ultimately gets its energy from the sun through the amazing ability of plants to sustain themselves on nothing more than water, air, and sunlight. Now researchers have taken a major...

This ‘Once-For-All’ Neural Network Could Slash AI’s Carbon Footprint

AI is creeping into everything from smartphones to cars, but tailoring neural networks to each new bit of hardware is expensive and contributes to AI’s rapidly-growing carbon footprint. So MIT researchers found a way...

This New Smartphone-Based DNA Test Could Help Track Disease in Real Time

On-the-spot DNA tests could prove invaluable to doctors, farmers, and officials responsible for food safety or environmental monitoring. Now Chinese researchers have created an ultra-portable, smartphone-based DNA testing platform that costs less than $10. Whether...

New ‘Hot Qubits’ Let Quantum Computers Run 15X Warmer Than Before

When people say quantum computing is “hot” right now they are most definitely talking metaphorically; today’s leading devices have to operate at close to absolute zero. Now two research groups have demonstrated technology that...

A New Neural Interface Could Last up to 6 Years Inside the Human Brain

For many futurists, humanity’s destiny lies in merging our minds with machines, but before that can happen we need to physically connect with them. There are a myriad of challenges involved in making a...

How a New AI Translated Brain Activity to Speech With 97 Percent Accuracy

The idea of a machine that can decode your thoughts might sound creepy, but for thousands of people who have lost the ability to speak due to disease or disability it could be game-changing....

Robots to the Rescue: How They Can Help During Coronavirus (and Future Pandemics)

As the coronavirus pandemic forces people to keep their distance, could this be robots' time to shine? A group of scientists think so, and they’re calling for robots to do the "dull, dirty, and...

Scientists Engineered Neurons to Make Electrically Conductive Materials

Electricity plays a surprisingly powerful role in our bodies. While most people are aware that it plays a crucial role in carrying signals to and from our nerves, our bodies produce electric fields that...

To Turbocharge Anti-Aging Treatment, Just Add… a Protein Found in Fruit Flies?

The hunt for the elixir of life is such a universal mythological trope that to talk about it in the context of science seems almost ridiculous. But breakthroughs in the last decade have made...

$100 Genome Sequencing Will Yield a Treasure Trove of Genetic Data

What would the implications be if decoding your genes cost less than a pair of designer jeans? We might soon find out after a Chinese company claimed it can sequence the human genome for...

The World’s First Open-Source Nuclear Reactor Blueprint Is Coming Online

Nuclear power’s role in combating climate change is a contentious topic, but a Silicon Valley entrepreneur thinks he can sway the debate by releasing open-source designs for a small-scale reactor that could be built...

US Tech Manufacturing Depends on 23 Rare Minerals—and Their Supply Is at Risk

A host of high-tech products rely on a small set of scarce minerals. New research suggests that 23 of these face worrying risks to their supply chains that could derail US technological progress. Rapid population...

This Breakthrough Just Got Us One Step Closer to a Quantum Internet

While quantum computing tends to garner all the headlines, quantum technology also has huge promise for the communication networks of the future. That’s why on top of the roughly $450 million the Trump administration...

The Company That Wants to Fling Rockets Into Space With a Giant Centrifuge

The rapidly falling cost of getting into orbit has spurred a boom in the space industry as a host of new applications become economical. Now a secretive startup plans to slash the cost to...

Could Photonic Chips Outpace the Fastest Supercomputers?

There's been a lot of talk about quantum computers being able to solve far more complex problems than conventional supercomputers. The authors of a new paper say they're on the path to showing an...

How Smart Roads Will Make Driving Easier, Safer, and Greener

Roads criss-cross the landscape, but while they provide vital transport links, in many ways they represent a huge amount of wasted space. Advances in "smart road" technology could change that, creating roads that can...

Precision Fermentation: What It Is, and How It Could Make Farming Obsolete

Concerns around the environmental impact of modern farming are causing us to reassess our relationship with food. But are claims that lab-grown food will replace agriculture in the coming decades realistic? British journalist and environmental...

IBM’s Plan to Design Solid-State Batteries Using Quantum Tech

Batteries are the key to decarbonizing both transport and the grid, but today’s technology is still a long way from living up to this promise. IBM seems to have decided its computing chops are...

How Scientists Squeezed a Particle Accelerator Onto a Tiny Silicon Chip

Particle accelerators have helped us unravel some of the universe’s biggest mysteries, but they're huge, expensive, and inaccessible to most researchers. A new particle accelerator on a chip could soon change that. The world’s biggest...

A New Anti-Aging Therapy Is Starting Its First Human Trial—and It Costs $1 Million

Recent research on longevity is making the idea of an elixir of life sound increasingly plausible. But a startup that's started selling a $1 million anti-aging treatment is most likely jumping the gun. Libella Gene...

First-Ever Artificial Neuron Could Let Us Repair Brain Injuries with Silicon

The merging of man and machine is a staple of sci-fi and at the heart of the philosophy of transhumanism. But interfacing our brains with computers has proven incredibly hard, despite the fact that...

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