DNA-Dropbox and game-changing UV light – IMPRESSO #40

In this IMPRESSO edition: Introducing the DNA-Dropbox, e-waste-free microbes, and truly game-changing UV light.


Hello DNA-Dropbox!

How much data can you store in a coffee mug? If the mug is filled with DNA, the answer would be – all data that exists on our planet! Aside from its density advantage, DNA is also a more energy-efficient solution when measured against conventional data centers. DNA polymers do not consume any energy once created. But retrieving the desired piece of information stored in DNA form has been a major hurdle until this year, when biological engineers from MIT found a way to easily retrieve data. The next challenge faced by the team is that the retrieval process partially wipes non-needed data. While research on scaling and the refining of the retrieval process needs to happen, the method could become an efficient solution to store data in the future! Read here


e-waste-free microbes

Over the last decades, innovations have moved towards an ever-growing imitation of nature in the aspiration of efficiency gains. A research team from the University of Massachusetts Amherst has taken said approach to develop an electronic microsystem that behaves like a self-autonomous living organism! The system can respond to information input without the need for external energy, as it generates electricity from its ambient environment by processing ultralow electronic signals. Moreover, the material is produced from microbes, making it renewable and ‘e-waste’ free! Potential applications include protein nanowires, used in brain computation with the long-term vision of realizing computing without the need of an external energy source. Bazinga! Read more


Game-changing UV light

While many of us remember UV light from clubbing adventures, or its use on crime TV shows, impactful applications have been limited. Until now, the developed UV light sources with the needed wavelength range were not durable or effective enough to serve as a viable solution. However, researchers from the Graduate School of Engineering at Osaka University have now created a novel second-harmonic generation (SHG) device that makes the idea of deep UV light sterilization and disinfection reality. Who knows, it may lead to all of us having our individual UV light source for everyday sterilization and disinfection (or even for the occasional house party) soon. A potential game-changer for all of us! Read more