New Computer Engineers: Bacteria
Magnetic microbes could lead way to faster hard drives
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 7, 2012 9:50 AM CDT
Magnetic bacteria could hold the key to future computers.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Future computer hardware designers may look to bacteria as a guide. Researchers in Britain created miniscule magnets by mimicking a bacterial process; these magnets could help us build the smaller, faster hard drives of tomorrow, the BBC reports. A bacterium called Magnetospirilllum magneticum creates the world's most magnetic mineral, magnetite, after consuming iron. The scientists were able to make their own "nano-magnets" by studying the process.

"We are quickly reaching the limits of traditional electronic manufacturing as computer components get smaller," says a researcher. But "nature has provided us with the perfect tool to (deal with) this problem." Tiny organisms are also paving the way to minute electrical wires: The experts were able to create tubes from the membranes of lab-grown cells. The tubes could become "biological wires," says another member of the team. They "have electrical resistance and can transfer information from one set of cells inside a bio-computer to all the other cells."