Hitachi has managed to develop a long-term data storage solution it claims can preserve information for hundreds of millions of years. The technology, announced earlier this week in Tokyo, utilizes a high-precision laser to embed dots of binary code across a tiny piece of quartz glass. From there, an optical microscope (paired with a computer capable of deciphering the imprint) can be used to recover the original data. Hitachi's solution would be able to survive nearly any doomsday scenario you can imagine: the 2-centimeter square of quartz glass is essentially fireproof — the company heated one sample at 1,000 degrees Celsius for two hours and still managed to successfully recover the information etched inside.
That's not to say Hitachi doesn't have any hurdles to overcome. Storage capacity is one such problem, with the multi-layered quartz glass maxing out around 40MB per square inch. That puts in on par with your basic CD-R, but nowhere close to spacious (yet far less reliable) external hard drives. Still, the technology makes for a fascinating way to archive important historical and cultural data.
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