Researchers at ETH Zurich have now collaborated with an Israeli scientist to develop a way to store information is almost any object. According to Robert Grass, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences this new development allows for 3D printed objects to be integrated with instructions that will last for decades, even centuries.
Many advances have made this new method possible, one of the most important is “Grass”. A method for marking products with a DNA “barcode” embedded in minuscule glass beads. Today a massive amount of data can be stored in DNA. Professor Grass’s colleague Yaniv Erlich, an Israeli computer scientist, developed a method that theoretically makes it possible to store 215,000 terabytes of data in a single gram of DNA. Grass himself was able to store 15 megabytes of data.
The two scientists have combined their research to create a new form of data storage. For there testing the two used a 3-D printed plastic rabbit that contains the instructions for printing the object. Next, the scientist demonstrated the retrieval of the embedded printing instructions contained in the rabbit and printed an exact clone of the original. They did this five times with success.
Future applications for this technology can be used in medical, construction, information technology, and so much more. Right now the biggest hurdle is the price. Translating a 3-D-printing file like the one stored in the plastic rabbit’s DNA costs around $2,050. Just like every other technology, over time the price will come down and the everyday consumer will be able to afford it.