Posted on December 19, 2019 11:58 am

Storing data in your candy bars?

The popularity of American candy has been soaring in recent years, with brands like Reese’s, Hershey and Jolly Rancher becoming near household names these days. But what if scientists have found a way to programme data into your candy bars? 

It’s the stuff of sci-fi but scientific advances have brought us in recent years things like a presence on Mars, jetpacks and fingerprint technology. And increasingly they’re looking at ways to store more data and easily, but how does that tie into candy bars? 

It’s not that easy to imagine a world where candy bars are plugged into computers in order to download programmes, songs or pictures, and that’s probably never going to happen, but there could come a time where you could programme data into almost anything, according to an article by Wired

As enter the new year, we’re taking a look at the potential for new technology, and whether that could mean that you could store the data for an entire film in your candy bar. 

DNA Storage 

Scientists have long suspected that DNA, the genetic code that makes us who we are, is an ideal medium for storing large amounts of data. For a start DNA storage is robust. Hard drive guarantees rarely exceed 5 years but archeologists have been recovering data from DNA in bones that are thousands of years old. 

Commercially, it could mean that masses and masses of data could be put into tiny storage devices to be used around the world, and it would almost be impossible to steal or hack. The issue, as it stands, is to find a cheaper way of reading it. 

Looking back to the relative revolution that were CD’s and DVD’s, the technology sparked a new age of data storage, but only after it became affordable for consumers and businesses to install the laser reading systems that could extract where the data was stored. 

In that string of genetic code, scientists have already managed to store and then re-download the song ‘Smoke on the water’, a GIF, and War and Peace. Theoretically speaking, a single gram of DNA could hold up to a petabyte of data and survive millenia. 

MIT, the world famous university in the USA, has now come up with a way of writing a terabyte of data every single day using millions of molecules that can be stored effectively and then re-opened. They’re planning on using the technology to offer IT storage to huge companies in the film industry, the entertainment industry and even the government, taking on huge companies like Microsoft and Apple. 

According to the article, “DNA storage could be the answer to a uniquely 21st-century problem: information overload. Five years ago humans had produced 4.4 zettabytes of data; that’s set to explode to 160 zettabytes (each year!) by 2025. Current infrastructure can handle only a fraction of the coming data deluge, which is expected to consume all the world’s microchip-grade silicon by 2040.”

So programming the DNA of your candy bar may just mean an easier way of carrying around all your music!