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Microbes will kill off hard drives

Bugs in the hardware
Wed Jul 12 2006, 08:17
A US boffin has announced that he has worked out a way to dispatch hard drives into the dustbin of history by smearing DVDs with genetically altered microbes.

Professor V Renugopalakrishnan says his DVDs, with bugs pre-installed, can store more than 50 terabytes of data which is enough to make computer hard disks obsolete.

Renugopalakrishnan uses a light-activated protein found in the membrane of a salt marsh microbe Halobacterium Salinarum, which is better know to its friends as bacteriorhodopsin.

It captures and stores sunlight to convert it to chemical energy. When light shines on bacteriorhodopsin, it is converted to a series of intermediate molecules each with a unique shape and colour before returning to its 'ground state'.

Renugopalakrishnan modified the microbe's DNA so that it produces the protein so that it will last for several years.

Protein-based DVDs will be able to store at least 20 times more than the Blue-ray and eventually even up to 50 terabytes of data. You can pack literally thousands and thousands of those proteins on a media like a DVD, a CD or a film or whatever, Renugopalakrishnan claimed.

More here. µ


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