Smartphones, Tablets, E-Readers Become Physically Heavier With More Data

I just read this on TFTS: Smartphones, Tablets, E-Readers Become Physically Heavier With More Data [The More Apps, Ebooks, Information You Add to Your Kindle, Android or iOS Device, the Heavier it Gets].

Quotes from the article:

John Kubiatowicz, a computer scientist from University of California’s Berkeley campus says that the more data you put into your notebook computer, netbook, tablet, smartphone, ebook reader or any other electronic device, the heavier it gets.

It’s a matter of energy vs. matter. While downloading software and apps does not really increase the amount of matter in your device, it changes the amount of energy stored on your tablet, smartphone or e-reader, particularly the level of energy in its electrons. And given Einstein’s theory of relativity stating that Energy equals the mass multiplied by the speed of light squared (E=mc2) then the difference in weight between a full ebook reader and an empty one is about 10-18 of a gram, or what scientists call an attogram.

Studies say that dust that gathers on your iPad’s touchscreen will weigh more than loading thousands of e-books on your device.

This is an odd fact, of course, as devices will not individually weigh more, with more data. But consider the amount of data being transmitted around the world, such as through broadband cables, datacenters and ISPs. Does this make the world substantially heavier?

I find this really fascinating. I don’t fully understand the science behind E=mc2, but if more energy equals more weight, then it makes sense. It’s such a small amount that it’s nothing anyone would ever actually notice when holding their phone, but the idea that putting more digital content on a device increases the weight is so interesting because we all generally consider things like energy and digital files to be totally non-physical. There are even studies being done nowadays that show that thoughts are like little entities, and if they are made by electrical impulses in your brain, and if that has mass, then why not? Some people probably find this kind of topic way too “out there” but I love it. It’s very futuristic and I think it’s awesome that our science is starting to be able to explain these kinds of things.

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About The eBook Reader

I love reading and I love technology. eBooks are an interesting combination of the two.

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