Recently, Microsoft has collaborated with researches at the University of Washington to produce a small photocopier sized machine that converts data in bits to DNA using bottles of chemicals and then uses a sequencing machine from Oxford Nanopore to convert the information in DNA back to bits. With the exponential growth of digital data and the physical limitations in storing data in conventional mediums, many companies have been eyeing DNA, the densest storage medium in the universe, as a potential solution to data storage problems.
However, Microsoft’s machine still needs several improvements in order to be practical on a large scale. Firstly ,the process is very expensive and costs need to be reduced by a factor of 10000. Secondly ,the process is too slow.Just converting a single word,”hello” to DNA and back to bits required 21 hours! Microsoft is developing this machine to make data storage in DNA practical with the long term aim of replacing tape drives.