This crazy breakthrough will make sure that all the data we humans are producing can be stored for a very, very long time.
Humans are estimated to be producing data in the region of 2.5 Quintillion bytes on a daily basis. With such massive amounts of digital data, scientists have often been challenged to come up with various data storage technologies that would discard the fears that such important data would get lost with time. In the past, these scientists have created various technologies such as DNA-based data storages, which are capable for storing data for the longest time possible. However, these technologies are still not suitable enough to store data for as long as the human race exists because of disc and data rot issues.
For that matter, researchers at the University of Southampton in the UK have created a novel and revolutionary device that is capable of keeping digital data for more than 13 billion years. The researchers from the University Optoelectronics Research Center (ORC) developed a tiny nanostructured glass disc that can possibly store digital data eternally. The researches announced that they have figured a revolutionary way of keeping huge amounts of data on a tiny glass disc using ultrafast laser writing.
Referring to the tiny glass disc as a 5-Dimensional (5D) digital data storage device, the researchers noted that the recording and retrieval process of data is superfast. This incredible feature is enabled by the fact that every single disc can hold a whooping 360 terabytes of data, notwithstanding its minute size. Additionally, the device has a thermal stability of up to 1000⁰C (1,832⁰F), which realistically gives it unlimited lifetime at normal room temperatures. In other words, this tiny glass disc can perfectly archive data for more than 13.8 billion years if it is constantly exposed to a temperature above 190⁰C (374⁰F).
With such extraordinary features, this is a stable device that is destined to open a new era of how eternal data such as the history of mankind are stored. Its “virtually unlimited lifetime” will be highly beneficial for organizations that want to eternally archive data. For instance, organizations such as museums, libraries and national archives have big and very important information and records that they would want to safely preserve using this technology.
The device that was first experimented in 2013 has so far been used by to store some of the world’s important files and information such as Magna Carta, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Kings James Bible and Newton’s Opticks. Dubbed the “Superman memory crystal,” this avant-garde was recently presented at a UNESCO conference in Mexico.
For now, the researchers are looking for big companies who will help in furthering and commercializing this landmark technology. While there is actually no word on when this device might hit the market, we still hope that it will enable us to store all the information of our lifetime and be guaranteed that it will survive all our descendants.