How large would a USB flash drive be if one byte of data required the volume of one human bite?

George Watson, Matthew Johnson, Devpreet Surae


Data storage approximately follows Moore’s Law, meaning that data is being stored in much smaller volumes. In this paper, the volume required to store the data on current common USB flash drives if one byte of data was the size of human bite is calculated. It is determined that the volume required to store 128 GB of data is just over a trillion centimetres cubed. For a 16 GB flash drive, it is determined that the bite size storage device would be 54.7 billion times larger than common current technology.


Idiom; Physics; Biology; Digital storage

Full Text:



Computer Hope (2016) What is byte? [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 21/02/ 2016].

Balance, R. & Buchholz, W. (1962) Planning a computer system. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Computer History (2016) Timeline of Computer History: Memory & Storage | Computer History Museum, [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 22/02/2016].

Amazon (2016) Samsung M3 Slimline 2TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive - Black: Computers & Accessories. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 25/02/2016].

Nakamichi, A., Matsuyama, M. & Ichikawa, T. (2014) Relationship between mouthful volume and number of chews in young Japanese females, Appetite, vol. 83, pp. 327-332.

Amazon (2016) HyperX DataTraveler HyperX Predator USB 3.1 Gen 1/USB 3.0 Flash Drive - 1 TB: Computers & Accessories. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 25/02/2016].

Amazon (2016) Kingston Technology 16 GB USB 2.0 DataTraveler SE9H Flash Drive with Metal Casing: Computers & Accessories [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 25/02/2016].

Google (2016) Google. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 26/02/2016].


  • There are currently no refbacks.
We use both functional and performance cookies to improve visitor experience. Continue browsing if you are happy to accept cookies. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information.