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DVD uses bug protein to store data
News in Science ^ | 7 July 2006 | Anna Salleh

Posted on 07/10/2006 4:45:41 PM PDT by annie laurie

DVDs coated with a layer of protein could one day hold so much information that storing data on your computer hard drive will be obsolete, says a US-based researcher.

He says that the protein layer, made from tiny genetically altered microbe proteins, could allow DVDs and other external devices to store terabytes of information.

Professor V Renugopalakrishnan of the Harvard Medical School in Boston reported his findings at the International Conference on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Brisbane this week.

"What this will do eventually is eliminate the need for hard drive memory completely," he says.

Renugopalakrishnan says high-capacity storage devices like the new protein-based DVDs will be essential to the defence, medical and entertainment industries.

These trade in terabytes of information with the transfer of information such as satellite images, imaging scans and movies.

"You have a compelling need that is not going to be met with the existing magnetic storage technology," he says.

Renugopalakrishnan says the new protein-based DVD will have advantages over current optical storage devices (such as the Blue-ray).

It will be able to store at least 20 times more than the Blue-ray and eventually even up to 50,000 gigabytes (about 50 terabytes) of information, he says.

The star at the centre of the high-capacity DVD is a light-activated protein found in the membrane of a salt marsh microbe Halobacterium salinarum.

The protein, called bacteriorhodopsin (bR), captures and stores sunlight to convert it to chemical energy.

When light shines on bR, it is converted to a series of intermediate molecules each with a unique shape and colour before returning to its 'ground state'.

The intermediates generally only last for hours or days.

But Renugopalakrishnan and colleagues modified the DNA that produces bR protein to produce an intermediate that lasts for more than several years, which paves the way for a binary system to store data.

"The ground state could be the zero and any of the intermediates could be the one," he says.

The scientists also engineered the bR protein to make its intermediates more stable at the high temperatures generated by storing terabytes of data.

The flip side

Renugopalakrishnan says making large amounts of information so portable on high-capacity removable storage devices will make it easier for information to fall into the wrong hands.

"Unfortunately science can be used and abused. Information can be stolen very quickly," he says. "One has to have some safeguards there."

In conjunction with NEC in Japan, Renugopalakrishnan's team has produced a prototype device and estimate a USB disk will be commercialised in 12 months and a DVD in 18 to 24 months.

The work has been funded by a range of US military, government, academic institutions and commercial companies, as well as the European Union.


TOPICS: Science
KEYWORDS: dvd; microbe; protein; science; technology

1 posted on 07/10/2006 4:45:43 PM PDT by annie laurie
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To: AntiGuv

Not sure if this is pingworthy for the entire list, but it might interest you.


2 posted on 07/10/2006 4:46:26 PM PDT by annie laurie (All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost)
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To: annie laurie
Professor V Renugopalakrishnan

I'm afraid to ask what his first name is.
3 posted on 07/10/2006 4:48:29 PM PDT by cripplecreek (I'm trying to think but nothing happens)
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To: cripplecreek

Vic.


4 posted on 07/10/2006 4:49:44 PM PDT by Redcloak (Speak softly and wear a loud shirt.)
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To: annie laurie

WOW, that's cool.


5 posted on 07/10/2006 4:52:03 PM PDT by phoenix0468 (http://www.mylocalforum.com -- Go Speak Your Mind.)
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To: annie laurie
One would think that the folks at Harvard Medical School would be better suited to finding cures for disease.Let HP and Sony do the IT research.
6 posted on 07/10/2006 4:52:58 PM PDT by Gay State Conservative
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To: annie laurie

What a coincidence. Bug scientists just discovered that a layer of human protein also has great potential for data storage. The bugs just can't get enough so they have embarked on a cultural exchange program to obtain more.

7 posted on 07/10/2006 5:03:08 PM PDT by Enterprise (Let's not enforce laws that are already on the books, let's just write new laws we won't enforce.)
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To: annie laurie
Hmmmm....just smashed a fly with a DVD here. Now it won't even play let alone store anything......

;)

~GCR~

8 posted on 07/10/2006 5:57:40 PM PDT by GoldCountryRedneck ("FLOGGING will continue until MORALE IMPROVES" - T-shirt)
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To: Enterprise

Maybe the bug proteins will end the times I say
"This disk drive CRAWLS!"


9 posted on 07/10/2006 6:03:03 PM PDT by VOA
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To: GoldCountryRedneck
Hmmmm....just smashed a fly with a DVD here. Now it won't even play let alone store anything......

Probably would have if you'd smashed a firefly.

10 posted on 07/10/2006 6:06:55 PM PDT by William Terrell (Individuals can exist without government but government can't exist without individuals.)
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To: annie laurie

Has PETA released a statement yet on how unacceptable it is to exploit microbes in this manner? If not, expect one soon.


11 posted on 07/10/2006 6:13:07 PM PDT by Tiny
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To: cripplecreek
I'm afraid to ask what his first name is.

Venkatesan. Honest!

12 posted on 07/10/2006 6:23:37 PM PDT by Grut
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To: annie laurie
Professor V Renugopalakrishnan

OMG.. whats his first name? Vinny? :)

13 posted on 07/10/2006 9:00:40 PM PDT by Echo Talon
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To: annie laurie

Thanks for the ping! I found it of interest but it doesn't quite meet the criteria I try to stick to for the list. It's just too purely speculative and a lot of these things, while intriguing, you never hear about again. If it were about, say, Sony engaged in R&D that's one thing, but if it's some idle theorizing by a random science dude that's quite another!


14 posted on 07/11/2006 12:19:52 AM PDT by AntiGuv ("..I do things for political expediency.." - Sen. John McCain on FOX News)
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To: PatrickHenry; b_sharp; neutrality; anguish; SeaLion; Fractal Trader; grjr21; bitt; KevinDavis; ...
You know, on second thought I'll ping it. It seems a bit out there to me, but hey, why not! We're intrigued so I'm sure there'll be others too.

FutureTechPing!
An emergent technologies list covering biomedical
research, fusion power, nanotech, AI robotics, and
other related fields. FReepmail to join or drop.

15 posted on 07/11/2006 12:49:36 AM PDT by AntiGuv ("..I do things for political expediency.." - Sen. John McCain on FOX News)
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To: annie laurie

Great!

Well, now when you say your system has a bug... you won't be lying.


16 posted on 07/11/2006 1:39:40 AM PDT by coconutt2000 (NO MORE PEACE FOR OIL!!! DOWN WITH TYRANTS, TERRORISTS, AND TIMIDCRATS!!!! (3-T's For World Peace))
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To: AntiGuv

Yep. There's interest. The article indicates that the research team has produced a prototype device.


17 posted on 07/11/2006 2:20:50 AM PDT by Truth29
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To: Truth29; AntiGuv
In conjunction with NEC in Japan, Renugopalakrishnan's team has produced a prototype device and estimate a USB disk will be commercialised in 12 months and a DVD in 18 to 24 months.
Now that is not theorizing.

"It ain't bragging if you can do it." - Y. Berra

Can they do it? Time will show - but a prediction of commercialization in a year's time is not exactly "global warming is happening because it's hotter today than it was yesterday, and in 20 years the sea level will rise 30 feet!"


18 posted on 07/11/2006 4:21:17 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (!st Amendment: We can't trust ANYONE to control the public discourse.)
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To: annie laurie

"He says that the protein layer, made from tiny genetically altered microbe proteins, "COULD" allow DVDs and other external devices to store terabytes of information.

Professor V Renugopalakrishnan of the Harvard Medical School in Boston reported his findings at the International Conference on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Brisbane this week.

"What this "WILL" do eventually is eliminate the need for hard drive memory completely," he says. "

Notice the 2 words I have made all caps & in quote. Tense is important. The article is nonsense.

But noteworthy. The level of nonsense in science is increasing.


19 posted on 07/11/2006 4:22:56 AM PDT by strategofr (H-mentor:"pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it"Hillary's Secret War,Poe,p.198)
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To: Truth29; AntiGuv
a prediction of commercialization in a year's time is not exactly "global warming is happening because it's hotter today than it was yesterday, and in 20 years the sea level will rise 30 feet!"
Still, for a technology with which they propose to replace the hard disk, access speed claims are conspicuous by their absence.

And OTOH they do not actually claim archival storage capability, only "several years."


20 posted on 07/11/2006 4:28:11 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (1st Amendment: We can't trust ANYONE to control the public discourse.)
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To: strategofr
"COULD" allow DVDs and other external devices to store terabytes of information. Professor V Renugopalakrishnan of the Harvard Medical School in Boston reported his findings at the International Conference on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Brisbane this week. "What this "WILL" do eventually is eliminate the need for hard drive memory completely," he says. "
Your point has merit.

But the "COULD" claim applies to projected storage capacity well into the terabyte range - a mass storage function, done by tapes in the bad old days and now by multiple DVDs.
And the "WILL" claim applies to the different, tho similar, function of the hard drive.

It can be read, "The difficult (making something which supplants the hard drive" we do immediately (a matter of months). The impossible (supplanting the DVD with the same technology that supplants the hard drive) takes a little longer (a matter of a couple of years)."

A claim of "commercialization in 12 months" is basically a claim that "It's easy to make these things right now; it's only a matter of ramping up production to commercial scale."


21 posted on 07/11/2006 5:07:37 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (1st Amendment: We can't trust ANYONE to control the public discourse.)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

"A claim of "commercialization in 12 months" is basically a claim that "It's easy to make these things right now; it's only a matter of ramping up production to commercial scale.""

I don't notice any such claim in the article so the statement confuses me.

""The ground state could be the zero and any of the intermediates could be the one," he says."

Here is a good clue to what is going on. They have yet to choose what symbolizes the "1" in the binary system. I think we can safely conclude that the research is in an early stage.

Over the years, I have seen dozens of stories similar to this. I can tell you, most of them come to nothing. The thing is, the amount of BS in the air is definitely increasing, in my opinion. I don't know enough about the scientific establishment to say what people gain from this sort of thing---but I'm sure there's a reason.


22 posted on 07/11/2006 9:44:49 AM PDT by strategofr (H-mentor:"pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it"Hillary's Secret War,Poe,p.198)
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To: annie laurie
"What this will do eventually is eliminate the need for hard drive memory completely," he says.

I heard all that same crap when they said 64K of memory was more than you ever needed. Trust me, whatever memory capabilities they come up with, they will find a way to use it all.

23 posted on 07/11/2006 9:46:12 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion; Truth29

I was tired and obviously not thinking clearly when I posted last night! :)


24 posted on 07/11/2006 10:00:10 AM PDT by AntiGuv ("..I do things for political expediency.." - Sen. John McCain on FOX News)
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To: annie laurie
The star at the centre of the high-capacity DVD is a light-activated protein found in the membrane of a salt marsh microbe Halobacterium salinarum.

I thought everybody knew that.

I remember when I was kid building up a small disk drive based on the salt marsh microbe Halobacterium salinarum light activated protein. It was a piece of cake. I happened to live near a salt marsh where good old Halo-sal used to hang out in large quantities so that made it pretty easy to get high quality material.

Nevertheless, it will be nice when we can run down to Fry's and buy a stack of these for $20. Perfect for storing those 1080p videos of the grandkids.

25 posted on 07/11/2006 10:09:28 AM PDT by InterceptPoint
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To: annie laurie
We've come a long way in a short time. I remember when it was the thing to do to get bugs out of the computer.


26 posted on 07/11/2006 5:13:13 PM PDT by jmcenanly
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