The problem with conventional storage devices – hard drives, CDs, DVDs, etc. – is that the media can degrade over time making the media unreadable. And what good is storing data if you can’t access it later?
Scientists are actively trying to change the data conundrum by coming up with new ways to store data in ways that can be accessed later, regardless of how old it is, without any data loss.
Additionally, since our reliance on technology and data is only growing stronger, they are trying to couple data integrity with small storage spaces so that more data can be stored while taking up less space physically.
So, what kinds of small spaces are they using to store data? Some of the answers may surprise you.
In late 2012, Hitachi revealed their newest invention, a small sheet of glass measuring one square inch that can hold up to 40MB of data. What’s more, the data is nearly impervious to corruption, as the glass is heat and water resistant, and unaffected by heat, chemicals, radio waves, and other possible corruption sources.
Tiny Hard Drive
Scientists have found a way to store data on a surprisingly small amount of space – 12 atoms. This doesn’t seem so small, until you realize that current hard drives use more than a million atoms to store a bit, and more than half a billion atoms to store a byte of information.
By storing data with a new unconventional form of magnetism called antiferromagnetism, scientists are now able to store data in a space that is drastically smaller than current conventional methods.
However, scientists are actively working on storing data in the most surprising place, in something we always carry with us – our DNA.
In early 2013, Harvard scientists announced they found a way to use our DNA as a digital storage device, allowing them to store up to 700 terabytes of data in just one gram of our DNA.
So far they’ve been able to store
an audio clip of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a photograph of a double helix strand of DNA, and Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets. And, not only were they able to store the data, but they were able to retrieve it with 99.9% accuracy.
To read more about storing data on DNA, check out these articles:
And these are just a few of the surprising small spaces that scientists are creating for data storage.
What are your thoughts about these changes? Fascinating? Or a sci-fi tragedy waiting to happen?