Superman's Data Crystals Becoming a Reality?
Tired of scratched DVDs messing up your gaming groove? Many of us have moved over to cloud-based storage sites for our movies, like Ultraviolet, in order to ensure we have a copy of the movie available as long as we're alive, and well, we have Internet. Others have invested in multi-terra-byte drives to store backup copies of games, documents, programs and other important information.
Scientists in Japan have come up with a storage solution to keep your most important data in a fashion that will not only outlive you, but also perhaps civilization itself.
Japanese storage and electronics company Hitachi has announced that it has come up with a solution that stores data on slivers of quartz glass, keeping important data safe and sound for perhaps as long as hundreds of millions of years.
“If both readers and writers can be produced at a reasonable price, this has the potential to greatly change archival storage systems,” said UC Santa Cruz's Director for the Center for Research in Intelligent Storage Ethan Miller in an interview with Scientific American. Of course, as with any new technology, price goes down with competition, use, and mass production techniques being perfected.
Kyoto University's Kiyotaka Miura developed the “semiperpetual” pieces of quartz glass for Hitachi, beginning with a square just two centimeters in width and a scant two millimeters thick. Inside this thin layer of crystal resides four different layers of binary-based dots that were inlaid using pulses of light. Not only could a laser-based reader scan and pick up information using this format, but the dots can also be seen using a simple microscope. Coolness factor x10.
So why would your data be safe for as long as 300 million years? Because the top and bottom layers of quartz protect the data underneath with a durable, waterproof crystal skin. When scientists placed a 1,000 degree flame on the surface for as long as two hours, the crystal remained intact and even undamaged to the naked eye. Your games would've survived the Mayan Apocalypse, had it happened....
Given the incredibly lengthy amount of time the data would stay protected from the elements, it's assured that the military, government, museums and other long-term historical research organizations would want to pursue archiving and storing our most important pieces of knowledge on them, once made available and eminently usable.
You know, so our progeny, far off in the future, can find them in a cool cave in a polar ice cap, and discover their super-secret origins.
Image courtesy Comic King