Biomimetic file 123: DNA Hard Drive Could Store Data For Millions Of Years

DNA Hard Drive Could Store Data For Millions Of Years


photo credit: In the search for ways to store data permanently, ETH researchers have been inspired by fossils / Philipp Stössel / ETH Zurich 

Highlight: “Inspired by fossilized bones, researchers say they’ve found a way to preserve data in the form of DNA encased in silica. The findings, published in Angewandte Chemie this week, could lead to a way of preserving digital information permanently, or for a few millennia.”

Insight: It is not the first time that biological systems are looked into for the next generation of supercomputers. It has long been acknowledged that binomial coding mechanisms still dominating the computer world today are reaching capacity. The next wave of super computers inspired from 4 base coding such as the structure of DNA could be the next big thing. In addition to exponential increase in processing power the storage capabilities and properties are also of great interest. We store enormous amount of data on media which are only reliable for at most a century (e.g. CD’s). Furthermore many of these storage systems are sensitive to electromagnetic radiations and it would only take a strong magnetic storm (e.g. due to solar flares) to erase much of the worlds data. Perhaps DNA storage would be a much safer storage option in the long run..

What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…


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