BioIndex by Lydia Millar, Chloe Hulse + Ellannah Sharman Winner’s Story

Winners: Creative Conscience Gold Award 2020

BioIndex is a sustainable digital storage system project, which houses data within plant DNA.

‘Data warming’ and the unsustainable nature of data servers not only pose a threat to our planet, but to the existence of all digital information recorded.

We created BioIndex in response to a speculative brief asking us to explore the future of libraries. Our system aims to tackle data warming by replacing existing data store machines, and their immense carbon output, with a clean, abundant plant index.

Very early in the process, we stumbled upon DNA storage technology and were really excited about the potential for its future implications.

Imagine how green our planet could become if we replaced data servers with trees!

Our ideas led to multiple outcomes:

  • A service design for having your house plants injected with your personal data;
  • An illustrated guide to the UK’s most popular trees and what data you could find housed within them;
  • An illustrated instruction manual for how to extract data from the DNA of plants;
  • And an app which enables you to view data from DNA-extracted code.

Being involved with Creative Conscience and winning a Gold Award during our second year at Kingston School of Art has made us even more excited about the potential impact BioIndex could have, and we hope that others will be too.

Lydia Millar, Chloe Hulse, Ellannah Sharman