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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


A Dutch City Is Using Electric Cars to Feed the Grid

Electric vehicles are only as green as the grid that powers them, but they can help boost the use of clean energy by storing intermittent renewable energy in their batteries. Putting that into practice...

‘Infinitely Recyclable’ Plastic Could Help Solve Our Waste Crisis

The world is drowning in plastic, and part of the reason is that it's incredibly hard to recycle most of the waste we create. According to new research though, “infinitely recyclable” plastics present an...

Advancing AI With a Supercomputer: A Blueprint for an Optoelectronic ‘Brain’

Building a computer that can support artificial intelligence at the scale and complexity of the human brain will be a colossal engineering effort. Now researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have...

Honeywell Just Released Details About How Its Quantum Computer Works

Engineering giant Honeywell burst into the quantum computing race out of left field last year. Now the company has provided the first concrete details of how its device works in a peer-reviewed journal. Unlike its...

Scientists Completed the First Human Trial of a Wireless High-Bandwidth Brain-Computer Interface

Brain-computer interface technology is advancing rapidly, but it currently relies on wires that seriously limit its use in everyday applications. That could soon change, though, as researchers recently completed the first human trial of...

Xenobots 2.0: These Living Robots Self-Assemble From Frog Skin Cells

The line between animals and machines was already getting blurry after a team of scientists and roboticists unveiled the first living robots last year. Now the same team has released version 2.0 of their...

Fiber Optics Could Be the Key to Million-Qubit Quantum Computers

Bridging the gap between the cryogenically-cooled inner workings of quantum computers and the conventional electronics that control them is an outstanding challenge. Current approaches look unlikely to scale, but new research suggests optical fiber...

Scientists Figured Out How to Turn Food Waste Into Jet Fuel

Aviation is a major contributor to climate change, and also one of the hardest sectors to wean off fossil fuels. New research suggests we could reduce the carbon footprint of jet fuel by 165...

Nanophotonics Could Be the ‘Dark Horse’ of the Quantum Computing Race, New Paper Says

The race to build the first practical quantum computers looks like a two-horse contest between machines built from superconducting qubits and those that use trapped ions. But new research suggests a third contender—machines based...

As Moore’s Law Slows, Chip Specialization Could Undermine Computing Progress

For decades, the computer chips that run everything from PCs to spaceships have looked remarkably similar. But as Moore’s Law slows, industry leaders are moving towards specialized chips, which experts say threatens to undermine...

Graphene ‘Nano-Origami’ Could Take Us Past the End of Moore’s Law

Wonder material graphene is often touted as a potential way around the death of Moore's Law, but harnessing its promising properties has proven tricky. Now, researchers have shown they can build graphene chips 100...

An Israeli Startup Is 3D Printing Cultured Ribeye Steaks

The market for meat alternatives is booming, but so far most products are only able to replicate the formless ground meat found in burgers, sausages, and nuggets. The world's first 3D printed steak may...

IBM’s New Software Will Make Quantum Programs Run 100 Times Faster

The companies building quantum computers have made incredible progress in recent years, and the hardware is only half the problem. Now industry leader IBM has shared its vision of how we're going to develop...

Connecting Distant Qubits Just Brought Distributed Quantum Computing Closer

Quantum computers could change the world, but first we need to work out how to build ones that are big enough to live up to this potential. A new breakthrough in the ability to...

Elon Musk’s $100 Million Carbon Capture Push

Even if the world rapidly ramps up climate action, most experts agree that cutting emissions is no longer enough to avert disaster. We also need to invest in pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere,...

New Fast-Charging, Low-Cost Batteries Could Be a Game-Changer for Electric Cars

Despite their growing popularity, electric vehicle sales still lag behind gasoline cars, and one reason is the anxiety that comes from short ranges and slow refueling times—but recent breakthroughs suggest those fears might soon...

How Mirroring the Architecture of the Human Brain Is Speeding Up AI Learning

While AI can carry out some impressive feats when trained on millions of data points, the human brain can often learn from a tiny number of examples. New research shows that borrowing architectural principles...

New Research Could Enable Direct Data Transfer From Computers to Living Cells

As the modern world produces ever more data, researchers are scrambling to find new ways to store it all. DNA holds promise as an extremely compact and stable storage medium, and now a new...

Scientists Just Created a Catalyst That Turns CO2 Into Jet Fuel

Air travel is one of the worst contributors to global warming, burping out nearly a billion tons of CO2 a year. But what if we could close that circle by converting those greenhouse gases...

New IBM Research Means We Could Soon Train Neural Networks on a Smartphone

The neural networks that power today’s AI are incredibly powerful, but training them can require entire server farms and huge amounts of energy. A new approach from IBM suggests we may be able to...

QuantumScape’s New Solid-State Battery Is Twice as Energy-Dense as Lithium-Ion

The biggest barriers to widespread adoption of electric vehicles are their limited range and long charging times compared to gasoline cars. But the release of test results from a startup building a new solid-state...

New Deep Learning Method Helps Robots Become Jacks-of-all-Trades

One of the biggest things standing in the way of the robot revolution is their inability to adapt. That may be about to change though, thanks to a new approach that blends pre-learned skills...

Scientists Beamed Shapes and Motion Directly Into Monkeys’ Brains Using Light

Being able to beam images directly into someone's brain could help restore sight to the blind and open up a host of new possibilities in everything from communication to entertainment. And now researchers have...

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...

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