Will we be able to store data in powder form thanks to UGent researchers?


Researchers from Ghent University (UGent) have succeeded in saving data in a brand new form: powder. In developing this idea, they were inspired by models present in nature, where genetic information is stored in DNA. This advance will make it possible to avoid using heavy metals and additional energy for data storage.

Will data storage methods be truly revolutionised? This is the aim of the collective work provided by the researchers in chemistry, biochemistry and IT at UGent. Their association has transformed data such as a QR code or short text, into powder.

Traditional methods, such as storage on a USB stick or hard disk are at risk of disappearing with the arrival of this new medium.

The process may be questionable, but using a biochemical analysis method, it would be possible to transmit the data of the molecules contained in the powder to a web medium, such as a website or application. This system will then be used to "decipher" the data. Scientists have already succeeded in storing QR codes in powder, hoping to be able to transform larger documents such as high-resolution images or films. Currently, only the transfer speed of documents seems to be an obstacle to this technology.

In any case, this is good news for the environment. The vast quantities of heavy metals needed, their extraction and the energy used to operate these media are at serious risk of diminishing in the future, or even disappearing.