DNA in the Memory Stick

At home we find that no hard disk is large enough. Corporations are being hard pressed to handle the physical storage requirements of cloud computing and big data. Now imagine a density of 5.5 petabytes per cubic millimeter –or say, storing the equivalent of 46 1TB drives in a single speck of dust. That is the data density of nature’s 3.5 billion year old preferred technology: DNA. Samuel Greengard, in his August 2013 article in the Communications of the ACM tells us tha the entire data output created by all of humanity could be stored in 4 grams of DNA –longevity of the medium is expected to be in the hundreds to thousands of years.

But even though the first DNA storage proof of concept dates to 1988, do not plan on buying your DNA memory stick just yet. Operating temperature of the devices is -9 F, and new materials and fabrication methods need to come on-line. But, but, there might finally be a drive big enough to hold all that hi-def video we are creating daily.

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