Iron-Eating Magnetized Bacteria Could Make Faster Computers
By Alex Davies
Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH/Public Domain
We write a lot about biomimicry, technology that mimics nature. This British-Japanese research project takes things a step further: it has made technology from nature itself. A newly created type of bacteria ingests iron, creating magnets inside itself, the BBC reported. These “naturally” created microscopic magnets could be used to create high-speed hard drives on a nano scale.
The project is the work of researchers at the University of Leeds and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, who recently published a study in the journal Small. The new bacterium is based on Magnetospirilllum magneticum, which are naturally magnetic and align themselves along the Earth’s magnetic fields.
Ordinary manufacturing methods aren’t fine enough to create hard drives on a microscopic scale, so biology is stepping in. Clearly, this technology is a ways away from being converted to practical computing applications, but what the team has created is not so far from what hard drives look like today, just in a much smaller size. And smaller computers can mean less energy used and less e-waste, not to mention super tiny computers, which could be really cool.