Sure, we can store huge quantities of bits in a tiny space, but how long will that data last? Current optical, magnetic and flash storage media have limited shelf lives, so Hitachi has announced a new way of locking up ones and zeros in quartz glass for hundreds of millions of years. The data can be etched with a laser in three layers on the crystals at a density slightly higher than a CD, then read out with an optical microscope, meaning that future generations could restore the info without needing a proprietary drive. The technology could come to market in three years, according to the research lab — but would likely be targeted at companies first, who would need to send in their data to be encoded. Hitachi said the media withstood two hours of 3500 degree Fahrenheit temperatures in testing without data loss, meaning that archaeologists from the future may one day uncover your questionable taste.
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