M-C DEAN

Designer

I'm a product designer with a passion for user centered design. I am also an advocate of creative thinking approaches and design thinking.

I specialize in experience design for software. I've worked on lots of websites, web applications, mobile and social media products, applying principles and techniques from psychology and social sciences, human factors, human-computer interaction, visual design, accessibility and usability. My Ph.D focused on natural language generation and human communication with machines, a combination of AI and HCI.

I have a strong drive for innovation and have designed, envisioned and created new products for different market places and industries from scratch, as well as the strategy for bringing them to market and gaining user adoption. I bring the power and energy of design thinking to both startups and big companies. I like to focus my efforts on large-scale industry disruption.

I love to draw, take photos and skateboard. I'm a student and teacher of Yoga. I'm always exploring new things.

Bacteria Data Storage

E.coli ML30.Creative Commons License photo credit: shawnleishman

I was really excited to find out about a group of students at Hong Kong's Chinese University successfully storing data in E.Coli.

E.Coli is not normally something you'd welcome, seeing as it is responsible for most UTIs and for food poisoning, but with this new technique it can be used to store vast amounts of information. One gram of bacteria can store 900,000 GB of data (or 450 hard drives, each with 2 TB  storage capacity). This means that you can keep all your data in the fridge. It has the advantage of being hack-proof, and won't let you down with electrical faults and the like. You just need to keep it fresh.

The students have also developed a way of overcoming storage capacity limitations by splitting it into chunks and distributing it between different cells. They have made a nice little interface on their site which allows you to try out their models and see a simulation in action, give it a go.

It's really not a new concept, featuring heavily in sci-fi and also labs for some time now! The exciting part is seeing something like this actually work, even though it is very early days. In 2007, researchers at Keio's Japan University encrypted Einstein's E=MC2 into the common soil bacterium. Because bacteria constantly reproduces, a group of single cell organisms can store a piece of information for years and years.

Idly daydreaming, I see a vast number of technological innovations that need to be invented or transformed to support this type of data storage.

Get more details about the Hong Kong iGem biostorage project