Saturday, November 27, 2010

And now bacteria will store your photos, videos, music...

A team of researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have got to a breakthrough. They have successfully stored 90 GB of data in a single gram of... bacteria. And it's not April Fools' today.

This new method of actually encoding data into a bacteria is called bioencryption. The idea has been around for at least a deacade, for it is known that bacteria survive most natural disasters. Moreover, 90 gigs of data in a single gram is a practically revolutionary quantity. Compare that with your hard drive.

Bioencryption works by aligning the bacterial DNA in a particular order, so that it remembers stuff. That raises a question in my mind. Won't shuffling the DNA around change the bacteria itself? Won't that make the bacteria even more harmful, and possibly wipe out the world around 21st December 2012?

We'll wait for an answer.

The DNA on a bacteria is made up of really long strands, which makes lots of space for data storage. The data is not stored sequentially on single bacteria, but is scattered over lots of these creatures, similar to a hard drive.

Here's their website, where you can see their photos, notebook, and more. Here's a PDF presentation from them.

Now I'm just waiting for the time I can plug in a flash drive filled with a glob of glowing bacteria inside into my computer and suddenly have access to some space where I can pop in hundreds of gigs of data.

What would you like to store in there? Write it in the comments.