Will you one day store your music and video as DNA?
Scientists at the University of Washington announced earlier this month the possibility of storing books and music using the 'building blocks of life', and proved it with a music video by the band OK Go, This Too Shall Pass. According to KUOW, the university has also stored the text of 100 books and the Declaration of Human Rights in multiple languages.
The company behind this data storage revolution is Twist Bioscience, whose expertise is manufacturing synthetic DNA. Based in San Francisco, the company claims their product is ideal due to the fact that DNA can remain stable for thousands of years, requires very little physical space, and by its very nature will always remain relevant, compared to current storage methods like hard drives, CDs and DVDs which can all deteriorate within a decade.
Currently, the process of writing digital data to DNA (binary code (1s and 0s) must be converted into the A, C, G, and Ts of DNA) is a lengthy and complicated process, but the ability to fit your entire library into DNA the size of a grain of sand will surely be too much of a temptation to resist. A single gram of DNA (about the size of a gummy bear) can encode almost a zettabyte of digital data (one trillion gigabytes, which could store more movies than could be watched in over 500,000 consecutive lifetimes). As long as the synthetic DNA is stored in a cool, dark, and dry environment, it will be a viable method and last for hundreds of years.
Although there are many questions to be answered, for instance around sound quality, organization of music, and the album or artist information, it has the potential to make much of the technology we have today obsolete...yes even vinyl!