This Isn’t Your Mother’s Data Storage…

October 3, 2012 at 4:11 am Leave a comment

dna data storage
About two months ago my parents’ 11 year old Dell Desktop PC finally bit the dust. They were preparing to take the leap into a new iMac and in doing so had rounded up most of the old components, some cables, a pair of speakers, etc. that they had used with the Dell over the years. Before taking it to a facility that could accommodate the recycling of old electronic parts like the wonderful, responsible people that they are, they asked me if I would be able to use any of that junk. I obliged a look through the bag of ancient parts and laughed when I took out a stack of 3.5” floppy disks. Yep these bad boys were capable of holding a whopping 1.44 megabytes of information.

I had almost forgotten these things had existed. The bulk of my media storing needs was served by blank CD’s or DVD’s, and now for the past few years by flash drives or SD cards. But seeing these made me think about how far our capabilities for storing information have progressed, tangible proof of Moore’s Law in effect.

Currently most of us use removable media like flash drives and external hard drives, or maybe a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive to transport and access photos, documents, movies and the like. Have we reached the pinnacle? Exponentially more and more data is created every single day. In fact, more data is added to Google Maps presently each day than existed in the entire system in 2006.  Growth like this causes quite the problem, as you can’t really have data if you don’t have the means to store it. One possible solution researchers have come up with to our ever increasing storage needs actually involves using DNA. Yes the same DNA you learned about in Biology class. Check this video out, take the extra credit quiz, and consider leaving a kind comment below:

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Entry filed under: technology.

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