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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


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...

Arm’s New Flexible Plastic Chip Could Enable an ‘Internet of Everything’

The ultimate goal of the Internet of Things (IoT) is to build computing capabilities into every object in the world, but that’s a pipe dream with today’s chips. Now British chip designer Arm thinks...

Google Gets One Step Closer to Error-Corrected Quantum Computing

One of the biggest barriers standing in the way of useful quantum computers is how error-prone today's devices are. Now, Google has provided an experimental demonstration of how to correct this problem and scale...

Delaying Aging Would Bring Trillions of Dollars in Economic Gains, Study Finds

People are living longer than ever, but there’s growing recognition that longer life expectancy is of little use unless we also delay the physical decline associated with old age. New research suggests doing so...

A Nanowire Network That Mimics the Brain Could Inspire New Designs in AI

The neural networks that power today’s leading AI systems can vastly outperform the human brain when it comes to picking out patterns in large tracts of static data. But when there’s little data to...

Harvard Scientists Pinpoint ‘Ground Zero’ of Aging in Mouse Embryo Study

How do old cells in adult humans give rise to the youthful cells found in infants? New research suggests they reset to their lowest biological age in early embryonic development, with potential ramifications for...

Why Flying Cars Could Be Here Within the Decade

Flying cars are almost a byword for the misplaced optimism of technologists, but recent news suggests their future may be on slightly firmer footing. The industry has seen a major influx of capital and...

Scientists in Spain Just Got a Step Closer to Building a Practical Quantum Repeater

A quantum internet could play a key role in tying together many of the most promising applications for quantum technologies. The main impetus for quantum communication networks today is security, because a feature of...

How Long Can We Live? New Research Says the Human Lifespan Tops Out at 150

Even with a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, a lucky draw in the genetic lottery, and the best medicine known to man, your natural lifespan has a hard limit of 150 years, say researchers....

Japan Wants to Build Intercontinental Passenger Spaceships by the Early 2040s

A booming space industry is making it easier than ever to get into orbit, but Japan is betting that it could revolutionize terrestrial travel, too. The country’s science ministry has unveiled a plan to...

Scientists Added a Sense of Touch to a Mind-Controlled Robotic Arm

Most people probably underestimate how much our sense of touch helps us navigate the world around us. New research has made it crystal clear after a robotic arm with the ability to feel was...

SpaceX Rocket Flies 10 Times as Reusability Gets Surprisingly Routine

Industry pioneer SpaceX has hit a significant milestone after one of its Falcon 9 rockets completed its 10th mission. The ability to reuse its launch vehicles has been at the heart of the company’s...

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...

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