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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


The First Small Modular Nuclear Reactor Was Just Approved by US Regulators

Nuclear power could play an important role in decarbonizing the energy sector, but reactors are simply too expensive and complicated to roll out quickly. A new, smaller reactor could soon change that after receiving...

MIT Researchers Create Artificial Synapses 10,000x Faster Than Biological Ones

Researchers have been trying to build artificial synapses for years in the hope of getting close to the unrivaled computational performance of the human brain. A new approach has now managed to design ones...

This ‘Solar Tower’ System Produces Jet Fuel From CO2, Water, and Sunlight

In theory, it's possible to create jet fuel from nothing more than water, CO2, and energy from the sun, but doing so outside of the laboratory has proved challenging. Now researchers have created the...

Electric Seagliders Could Enable Short-Haul Emissions-Free Air Travel This Decade

Electrifying aviation could help tackle the sector’s serious emissions problems, but battery-powered passenger jets are still some way off. All-electric seagliders that skim the waves like pelicans could hit the market much sooner, though. Efforts...

This AI Predicts Crime a Week in Advance—and Highlights Policing Bias

Efforts to use AI to predict crime have been fraught with controversy due to the potential to replicate existing biases in policing. But a new system powered by machine learning holds the promise of...

Deepmind’s New AI May Be Better at Distributing Society’s Resources Than Humans Are

How groups of humans working together collaboratively should redistribute the wealth they create is a problem that has plagued philosophers, economists, and political scientists for years. A new study from DeepMind suggests AI may...

Scientists Used Human Cells to Make Self-Healing ‘Living Skin’ for Robots

Androids that are part human, part robot are a staple of science fiction. But they're now a step closer to reality after researchers crafted a living skin for robots out of human cells. Today’s robots,...

Quantum Internet Is a Step Closer After Quantum Teleportation Breakthrough

Quantum communication technology could one day enable an ultra-secure quantum internet, but so far creating the linkages in such a large network has proven challenging. A breakthrough in the ability to teleport quantum information...

New Logic Gates Are a Million Times Faster Than Those in Today’s Chips

As Moore's Law begins to slow, the search is on for new ways to keep the exponential rise in processing speeds going. New research suggests that an exotic approach known as "lightwave electronics" could...

A New Space Academy in Colorado Will Train Private-Industry Astronauts

There are still plenty of technical hurdles to cross to achieve a vibrant space economy, but one less-discussed barrier to progress could be space-ready manpower. That’s why a group of astronauts, engineers, and entrepreneurs...

Nanomagnetic Computing Could Drastically Cut AI’s Energy Use

As the Internet of Things expands, engineers want to embed AI into everything, but the amount of energy it requires is a challenge for the smallest and most remote devices. A new “nanomagnetic” computing...

Scientists Just Cracked One-Way Superconductivity, Thought Impossible for Over 100 Years

Today's computers guzzle large amounts of electricity, raising concerns about the climate impact of technology. A breakthrough in superconducting electronics could reduce the power bill significantly, while also making computers far faster. The phenomenon of...

Neutral Atom Quantum Computers Edge Closer to Reality With Two New Breakthroughs

Neutral atom quantum computers promise solutions to many of the problems that beset today’s devices, but the technology is still nascent. Recent breakthroughs in the ability to control and program these devices suggest they...

There’s Now an Algorithm to Help Workers Avoid Losing Their Jobs to an Algorithm

As AI and robotics continue to advance, there are concerns that machines could soon replace humans in a wide range of occupations. Now there's a new way to tell how likely your job is...

Mojo Vision’s New Contact Lens Brings Seamless Augmented Reality a Step Closer

Blending the digital and real worlds could have a host of applications, from entertainment to training, but current augmented and virtual reality headsets are bulky and limited. Now a startup is promising a more...

This ‘Quantum Memristor’ Could Enable Brain-Like Quantum Computers

Quantum and neuromorphic approaches both hold the promise of fundamentally rewriting the way we do computing. And now they have been merged after researchers developed a "quantum memristor" that could form the basis of...

Redesigned CRISPR Gene Editing Tool Is 4,000 Times Less Error-Prone

CRISPR gene editing holds huge promise for tackling a wide range of inherited diseases, but concerns about unintended “off target” effects have slowed its rollout. A redesigned CRISPR system could finally have a practical...

Oxford Researchers Train AI Two Times Faster With a Simple Mathematical Trick

As AI models get ever larger, the amount of money and energy required to train them has become a hot-button issue. A new approach that rewrites one of the fundamental building blocks of the...

The Electric Revolution: EV Sales Doubled in 2021 and Are Surging This Year Too

Electric vehicles (EVs) will play a crucial role in decarbonizing our transport systems and helping us avoid the worst effects of climate change. The latest figures suggest they are making major inroads into the...

Bitcoin’s Carbon Emissions Are Rising After China’s Crypto Ban

Cryptocurrencies could remake our financial systems, but question marks remain over their green credentials. Now a new analysis suggests their environmental impact has gotten even worse after a mass exodus of miners from China. The...

Scientists Created Artificial Neurons That Can Make a Venus Flytrap Snap

Getting man-made electronics to interface with the squishy world of biology could open up a host of exciting doors. Now researchers have made a major leap in that direction with an artificial neuron that...

People Trust Deepfake Faces Generated by AI More Than Real Ones, Study Finds

The proliferation of deepfake technology is raising concerns that AI could start to warp our sense of shared reality. New research suggests AI-synthesized faces don't simply dupe us into thinking they're real people, we...

New Chip Rewires Itself Like the Brain to Help AI Learn Continuously

One of the reasons for the brain's incredible power is its ability to rewire itself as it learns. Now researchers have created electronic circuits that can do the same. Efforts to mimic the brain in...

Quantum Computers Could Crack Bitcoin. Here’s What It Would Take

Quantum computers could cause unprecedented disruption in both good and bad ways, from cracking the encryption that secures our data to solving some of chemistry’s most intractable puzzles. New research has given us more...

Quantum Computing in Silicon Breaks a Crucial Threshold for the First Time

Quantum computers made from the same raw materials as standard computer chips hold obvious promise, but so far they've struggled with high error rates. That seems set to change after new research showed silicon...

Sensor-Packed ‘Electronic Skin’ Controls Robots With Haptic Feedback

Being able to beam yourself into a robotic body has all kinds of applications, from the practical to the fanciful. Existing interfaces that could make this possible tend to be bulky, but a wireless...

These Will Be the Earliest Use Cases for Quantum Computers

Quantum computing is expected to revolutionize a broad swathe of industries. But as the technology edges closer to commercialization, what will the earliest use cases be? Quantum computing is still a long way from going...

H2 Clipper Will Resurrect Hydrogen Airships to Haul Green Fuel Across the Planet

Airships might seem like a technology from a bygone era, but a startup says their new design could become a crucial cog in the green hydrogen supply chain. While transitioning away from fossil fuels will...

Chasing Energy’s Holy Grail: Was 2021 Fusion Power’s Breakthrough Year?

Few technologies encapsulate the techno-utopian dream as much as fusion power, but its promise of limitless renewable energy has always remained tantalizingly out of reach. A flurry of developments in the last six months...

DeepMind’s New AI With a Memory Outperforms Algorithms 25 Times Its Size

Bigger is better—or at least that's been the attitude of those designing AI language models in recent years. But now DeepMind is questioning this rationale, and says giving an AI a memory can help...

How Ethical Hackers Could Help Us Build Trust in AI

AI is exerting an ever greater influence on our lives, which is leading to growing concern over whether we can trust it to act fairly and reliably. Ethical hackers, AI audits, and “bias bounties”...

Robots Evolve Bodies and Brains Like Animals in MIT’s New AI Training Simulator

In their efforts to create smart robots, AI researchers have understandably tended to focus on the brains. But a group from MIT say AI can help us design better bodies for them too, and...

Scientists 3D-Print Programmable Living Structures With New Microbial Ink

Our mastery of biology has improved dramatically in recent decades, but we are still largely restricted to nature's repertoire of forms. That could be about to change with the creation of a living ink...

IBM’s 127-Qubit Eagle Is the Biggest Quantum Computer Yet

Progress in quantum computing is no longer just about how big your chip is. But IBM has taken a major leap forward with the release of a 127-qubit processor. Milestones in quantum computing are getting...

Scientists Say We Need to Look Into Solar Geoengineering Now—Before It’s Too Late

With the pace of emissions reductions looking unlikely to prevent damaging climate change, controversial geoengineering approaches are gaining traction. But aversion to even studying such a drastic option makes it hard to have a...

How Bacteria Could Make Rocket Fuel on Mars for the Return Trip to Earth

While getting humans to Mars is likely to be one of the grandest challenges humanity has ever undertaken, getting them back could be even tougher. Researchers think sending genetically engineered microbes to the Red...

New Optical Switch Is Up to 1,000 Times Faster Than Silicon Transistors

As Moore's Law slows, people are starting to look for alternatives to the silicon chips we've long been reliant on. A new optical switch up to 1,000 times faster than normal transistors could one...

Not So Mysterious After All: Researchers Show How to Crack AI’s Black Box

The deep learning neural networks at the heart of modern artificial intelligence are often described as “black boxes” whose inner workings are inscrutable. But new research calls that idea into question, with significant implications...

How Nanotechnology Will Help Us Probe the Brain in Unimaginable Detail

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to probing and manipulating the brain are the blunt tools we have at our disposal. But breakthroughs in nanotechnology could soon change that, say researchers. Neuroscience has...

Intel’s Brain-Inspired Loihi 2 Chip Can Hold a Million Artificial Neurons

Computer chips that recreate the brain's structure in silicon are a promising avenue for powering the smart robots of the future. Now Intel has released an updated version of its Loihi neuromorphic chip, which...

How Quantum Computers Can Be Used to Build Better Quantum Computers

Using computer simulations to design new chips played a crucial role in the rapid improvements in processor performance we’ve experienced in recent decades. Now Chinese researchers have extended the approach to the quantum world. Electronic...

The Race for Fusion Power Heats Up as Multiple Projects Hit New Milestones

Fusion power could be a silver bullet for the world’s energy and environmental woes, but it’s famously always 30 years away. A recent flurry of announcements is raising hopes that maybe the timeline has...

Electrifying the Future: Toyota Puts Over $13 Billion Into Battery Technology

The world’s largest car manufacturer by volume has been sluggish in its efforts to electrify compared to competitors. But Toyota has just announced a huge investment in battery technology that may be a sign...

New Mini-CRISPR Systems Could Dramatically Expand the Scope of Gene Therapy

CRISPR has revolutionized genome engineering, but the size of its molecular gene-editing components has limited its therapeutic uses so far. Now, a trio of new research papers detail compact versions of the gene-editing tool...

This Room Can Wirelessly Charge Devices Anywhere Within Its Walls

Today, wireless charging is little more than a gimmick for high-end smartphones or pricey electric toothbrushes. But a new approach that can charge devices anywhere in a room could one day allow untethered factories...

Cerebras Upgrades Trillion-Transistor Chip to Train ‘Brain-Scale’ AI

Much of the recent progress in AI has come from building ever-larger neural networks. A new chip powerful enough to handle “brain-scale” models could turbo-charge this approach. Chip startup Cerebras leaped into the limelight in...

‘Neurograins’ Could Record Brain Activity From Thousands of Locations

Today's brain implants are bulky and can typically only record from one or two locations. Now researchers have shown that a network of tiny "neurograins" can be used to wirelessly record and stimulate neurons...

Scientists Just Laid Out a Game Plan for Building a Clean Hydrogen Economy

Batteries and renewable energy are helping to decarbonize large swathes of the modern world, but they look less likely to help in areas like industrial heating, long-haul heavy transportation, and long-duration energy storage. Some...

Magnetizable Concrete in Roads Could Charge Electric Cars While You Drive

One of the biggest barriers to electric vehicle adoption is the fear of running out of juice before you get to your destination. Roads that can charge your vehicle as you drive could be...

Form Energy’s New Low-Cost, Iron-Air Battery Runs for 100 Hours

Finding a way to store large amounts of energy at low cost will be vital if we want to shift our grids to renewable energy. A new iron-air battery that can deliver power for...

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