If you're an avid Star Trek fan, you may not be surprised to know that DNA may be our future in electronics. You see biotechnology used in many episodes, and we may not be far away from using it ourselves. Why? Because DNA is destined to be our next hard drive.
Leonard Adleman is the mastermind behind the DNA hard drive. He was the first to conceptualize DNA as more than just the blueprint for life. It could also be used to solve mathematical problems, he theorized. However, his DNA test-tube computer couldn't calculate quickly. (A normal computer far surpassed it in speed.) But the concept was new, and since then researchers and scientists have been working on finding a way to use DNA in our electronics and what that could mean for enterprise data recovery.
The Advantages of a DNA Computer
There are plenty of advantages for manipulating life's code. The tremendous amount of storage alone will completely sweep traditional hard drives out of the market. Two scientists, George Church and Sri Kosuri, made a huge breakthrough. They fit 700 terabytes into a single gram of DNA. Yeah, that bulky 4TB external hard at home is a pea-sized bucket compared to that—and the DNA weighs several times less.
The second advantage is their ability to solve complex calculations quickly. Traditional hard drives operate on a linear system, while DNA works on a parallel system. This places today's computers at a serious disadvantage. Calculations that would take modern computers years to untangled are solved within hours by a DNA computer.
What Does this Mean for Data Recovery?
Biological means temporary, right? Nope. DNA storage is permanent. Your great-great-great grandkids could watch your favorite purring-kitten videos, check out all your photos, and access your digital journal. In another study—scientists have been experimenting with manipulating living cells—they found that after the cells die, the information can still be recovered. There will always be situations where data is accidentally deleted due to user error, but it is reassuring to know that in the data loss from corruption and hardware failure could be a thing of the past.
The advantages of the DNA hard drive far outweighs our current technology. But don't be chucking your hard drive yet. DNA technology is still in development, and if anybody gets to play with it first, it's likely to be the government. But nevertheless, we're stepping ever closer to Star Trek becoming a reality. All we need to do is figure out how to build a functioning Enterprise.