Store Your Data,
Grow Your Own Cloud is an initiative that is working to store the world's data nature's way - in the DNA of plants. We are at the forefront of the development of a new type of cloud, one that is organic, rather than silicon, and which emits oxygen rather than CO2.
By combining the latest in biotechnology and genetic science, we work to help embed your dirty data in an array of carefully selected plants and organisms. Our friendly team is dedicated to creating a future in which your data blooms and grows both in the home and in data forests.
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Today, global data consumption requires the equivalent of the entire energy usage of the UK. By 2030 the amount of energy required to power our data will be more than that of Asia, Africa and Europe combined. We are locked into a new consumption cycle, driving us towards a future of data warming.
The possibility of using DNA to store data is now a reality. Think of DNA as the original coding language, written not in binary [0 and 1] but in the more complex [A C G T]. While methods to read and write data are currently expensive and slow, DNA can store data at a density that is unparalleled - it is estimated that we could store all of the world's data in just 1kg of DNA.
Our ability to store and pass on knowledge has helped shape the society we live in today, yet current methods of archiving data face the problems of obsolescence, changing formats, and decay. DNA on the other hand lasts a remarkably long time (just think of the amber in Jurassic Park). In fact it can be stored more or less indefinitely in the right conditions and the format never becomes obsolete.
While all current data storage methods require gigantic sources of energy, putting a strain on our already strained environment, DNA is powered through natural processes. This means little to no electricity is required to keep data held in DNA alive and well.
Plants are generous and life giving organisms, providing habitats, producing food and creating oxygen. Like all known organisms, they are based on the building blocks of life, DNA.
Plants are also extremely mysterious organisms, holding many secrets and possessing amazing qualities. While they may seem simple, in fact plants have the largest known genomes on Earth, the largest (Paris Japonica) has 149 billion base pairs - 50x the size of the human genome. This means that despite their apparent modesty, their DNA structure holds a lot more information than any human.All this information or data, means that plants have the potential to store huge amounts of data within their DNA. At Grow Your Own Cloud, we are interested in exploring the natural data storage properties of plants, as well as the numerous potential ways to store and treat data in a more meaningful way.
We work with the natural properties of plants, to develop methods which are beneficial for the plant as well as for data archiving. For example, we use pollination to replicate and backup data to ensure that data can live on beyond its original plant host. The information from one organism can be gathered in the form of seeds and planted again and again.
In order for plant and data alike to flourish, we help educate our clients to carefully take care of their plants in order to protect data integrity, keep it secure, as well as nurture the plant. This helps improve plant growth, mortality rates, and ensures that data is not lost prematurely.
With this project we want to change the way humans consider nature and technology. Can technology become a living organism in a wider ecosystem of the earth? Can we shift from models of technology that exploit the Earth's resources, to regenerative models?
Imagine if trees could store all of our data? Then we would certainly plant a lot more of them! That's why our ambition is to gradually replace CO2 emitting silicon data farms, with green data forests.
Rather than cutting down trees and clearing green spaces for yet more urbanization, we seek to create a rationale for the regeneration and proliferation of nature. This new system of data storage would not only create oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.
Our aim is to develop an initiative from the ground up built through an ethics first approach, with an innate respect for nature and a strong sense of climate justice guiding everything we do.
We would like to help construct a future in which technology is a living organism in the wider ecosystem of the earth. Shifting human models from the exploitative to cooperative and unified, in full awareness of the deep, pervasive relationships that connect everything.
Frequently Asked Questions
Grow Your Own Cloud labs has developed several techniques to embed plants with data which allow for a variety of possible uses. At Grow Your Own Cloud we use three main techniques:
1. Foliage Injection - Available with most of our plants. Short-term transient expression via leaf transmission. Ideal for romantic messages, or short form content such as 'snaps' and 'tweets.
2. Floral Dip - available with selected plants. Generates a stable expressions, which can be used to backup your data for generations.
3. Ballistic Impact (Gene Gun) - available at selected outlets. Used only for the most demanding clients, and/or difficult plants. Generates a stable expression similar to Floral Dip, ensuring plant and progeny support long-term data storage.
Absolutely! Grow Your Own Cloud works with the latest nanopore technologies which allow for the reading back of genetic information almost instantly. Upon purchase you will receive a special pack with more information on how to download your data from your plant.
Depending on the technique used to encode your data into the plant, it will usually be possible to copy your data into a new organism. Please visit us in store where one of our data growth experts can advise you on the best method for your data type and plant.
Your data is encrypted during our sequencing process to ensure that only you and Grow Your Own Cloud can read the information stored in your plant. This is achieved by creating a unique private key. You can make this key available to other people if file sharing is required.
If you'd like to fully delete your data for any reason you should return your plant to your local store, where we will destroy the plant using extreme heat in one of our furnaces. This usually removes all traces of data.
We are currently developing this process in full compliance with European genetic modification guidelines and standards. We work with established protocols based on current scientific knowledge, and our trials have so far proven to be successful with zero adverse effects on the plants.
Grow Your Own Cloud is interested in exploring data storage which does not cost the earth. While our work remains theoretical and small in scale, we are keen to better understand the possibilities available to us in society, through multidisciplinary practice and looking beyond what is traditionally considered viable.
If you would like to know more about the project, or if you are interested in collaboration please get in touch with us at:
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