See (Through) the Future of Digital Storage
The digitization of information has changed our society in fundamental and positive ways, allowing us to store massive amounts of it in tiny spaces, copy it without effort, and disburse it to more people more easily. However, there’s always been a nagging concern about it…digital information has no stable storage media. Digital media degrades faster and becomes obsolete faster than any other storage media in history.
Basically, I can look at a cave painting created thousands of years ago thanks to the durability of rock, but my laptop doesn’t have an optical drive for CDs from this year.
So, overall, it’s a dangerous place to store stuff. And we’re relying on it for everything, from the most trivial blog post to the most important historical and medical data.
Of course, it’s one of those, “I’m sure somebody somewhere is solving this” problems, and it turns out it might be Hitachi.
The company unveiled today a medium that can store digital information for millions of years. The thin sheet of transparent quartz is also waterproof, fireproof, and, because it stores the digital information in simple binary form, can be read with a basic microscope and any past, current, or future computer.
Right now, the prototype stores 40 megs per square inch, and the Hitachi researchers are confident that will be further improved.
Just keep Arnold Schwarzenegger away from it.