Isolinear chips were introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation in the 1980s. They were small 3.5-inch rectangles of colored plastic which were used to store information. The Starfleet-issued isolinear chip is a small, flat, rectangular unit featuring onboard nanotech processors to aid in memory access and with a maximum capacity of 2.15 kiloquads. Though normally easily corrupted, chips may be coated with a layer of clear plastic for protection in environments more hostile than a computer core without affecting read and write capabilities; such ruggedized chips were commonly used in tricorders, PADDs, and other handheld devices with isolinear chip drives.

Today, the same principle of small, high-capacity removeable data storage is used in the Memory Stick. The Memory Stick is a removable flash memory card format, launched by Sony in 1998. The first memory sticks looked strikingly like the Star Trek isolinear cards of the 1980s and were available in sizes of 4MB and 8MB, though capacities were later expanded to up to 128 MB. Typically, a Memory Stick is used as storage media that can easily be connected to or removed for access by a personal computer through the PC's USB port.  Memory sticks, which are today also referred to as pen drives, are now produced by a host of different manufacturers and are available in capacities of up to 32 GB.

The first-ever memory sticks, launched by
Sony in 1998