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'5-D' glass disc can store terabytes of data


Posted on Thursday, 18 February, 2016 | Comment icon 19 comments

Data stored on the new format is likely to outlive our civilization. Image Credit: NASA
Scientists have created a new type of data storage that can keep information safe for billions of years.
Storing data for long periods of time is a tricky business. Even today's forms of data storage such as DVDs and Blu-rays have a finite lifespan of around 200 years before becoming unreadable and some older formats such as cassette tapes and floppy disks have already started to fail.

Now in a new bid to get around this problem scientists have come up with a completely new type of storage medium - one that can store terabytes of data and keep it safe indefinitely.
Developed at the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Center, the new format works by encoding information on to a thin glass disc using a special laser.

According to the researchers, because glass if such a tough and chemically stable material the information stored on it will last up to 13.8 billion years - over three times the age of the Earth.

"We have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations," said Professor Peter Kazansky. "This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilization: all we’ve learnt will not be forgotten."

Source: Christian Science Monitor | Comments (19)


Tags: Data Storage, Disc


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by XenoFish on 19 February, 2016, 0:34
I hope they don't download the internet onto that thing. I know what 90% of it would be.
Comment icon #11 Posted by aztek on 19 February, 2016, 0:50
aren't crystal sculls claimed to be data storage as well?
Comment icon #12 Posted by Gecks on 19 February, 2016, 1:07
Im with Roger on this... but all the same fantastic advancement in technology
Comment icon #13 Posted by ChrLzs on 19 February, 2016, 1:57
A nitpick. This is NOT '5D'!!! The article offers the following unscientific word salad: But instead of storing information in only two dimensions (1s and 0s), the nanogratings store information in five dimensions: the orientation and size of the gratings as well as their three-dimensional position on the disc. Using ones and zeros (ie binary) does not equate to 2D - it has nothing to do with spatial dimensions!!! And the other dimensional information is still within the normal 3D reality... The '5D' claim is just plain silly and inapplicable.
Comment icon #14 Posted by TripGun on 19 February, 2016, 18:15
People called me crazy when I thought up the USB root beer mug.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Codenwarra on 22 February, 2016, 7:10
And in 20 - 50 years the formats will have all changed and the data will be unreadable except by obsolete and unobtainable computer systems. Just try playing some games from 2003 on your latest whizz-bang box of sorrow.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Leonardo on 22 February, 2016, 12:37
I hope they don't download the internet onto that thing. I know what 90% of it would be. You mean videos and pictures of cats?
Comment icon #17 Posted by Rolci on 22 February, 2016, 12:59
Which month is it hitting the shelves? Or is it gonna be like the new battery technologies they keep reporting all the time that last for months on a charge, but then we never hear about them again, or like all the research into longevity like http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/magazine/can-a-jellyfish-unlock-the-secret-of-immortality.html?_r=0 that then we never get to hear about again???
Comment icon #18 Posted by BiffSplitkins on 22 February, 2016, 13:35
and if the discs are stored in a stable environment the information contained in them should last up to 13.8 billion years Hopefully Apple will still be around then to decrypt the data....
Comment icon #19 Posted by theotherguy on 22 February, 2016, 22:34
A nitpick. This is NOT '5D'!!! The article offers the following unscientific word salad: Using ones and zeros (ie binary) does not equate to 2D - it has nothing to do with spatial dimensions!!! And the other dimensional information is still within the normal 3D reality... The '5D' claim is just plain silly and inapplicable. If I may nitpick your nitpickery-- It's referring to 5 different parameters, but 5P doesn't sound as sciency and futuristic as 5D. Sometimes, marketing is king.


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