Thursday, July 13, 2006

Protein-coated discs could enable 50TB capacities

We know that it shouldn't come as a shock anymore when researchersannounce new storage technologies that promise to hold tantalizinglylarge amounts of data, but we were still pretty stoked to learn that arecent breakthrough at Harvard Medical School may eventually lead toDVD-size discs whose capacities approach an eye-popping 50TB. Unliketraditional optical or magnetic solutions, the disc developed byProfessor V Renugopalakrishnan and his colleagues is coated withthousands of light-activated proteins called bacteriorhodopsin whichare found in the membrane of a particular salt marsh microbe -- andwhich temporarily convert to a series of intermediate molecules whenexposed to sunlight. That property allows the proteins to act asindividual bits in a binary system, but since they have a tendency toreturn to their grounded state after mere hours or days,Renugopalakrishnan and his team modified the requisite microbes' DNA toproduce proteins capable of maintaining that intermediary state forseveral years. Unfortunately we won't see this technology come tomarket anytime soon, and even when it does, 50TB capacities will stillbe a ways off, so it looks like we'll have to settle for thosedisappointing 200GB Blu-ray discs for the foreseeable future.

The only concern is how much scratch proof it will be and how many person other than media professional would need that amount of storage, maybe in the next few years. Let us just watch and see.


vinodvv said...

where did you find the news about 50TB

suman said...

In Digg I guess...but whats the source I have forotten.