Hitachi presents a storage medium that should last forever

Storing data forever is impossible at the moment, as storage methods eventually expire. You might be able to play an old CD but you won't be able to do this endlessly. Hitachi might have found the solution in their most recent invention; a glass disk which should be able to hold data forever.

The magic in Hitachi's invention comes from how data is stored on the glass. Binary dots are written to the glass, and can be read using a common microscope. The idea behind this is that future technologies won't leave this medium behind, like they did with the floppy disk.

The way in which this works is impressively simple, being similar to how records are read. If you have a computer with the right software and an optical microscope hooked up to it, it should be possible to simply feed the data into the computer. Currently the size of the data that can be stored isn't known, but Hitachi plans to increase it for the future.

The glass used is specifically quartz glass, meaning there is some silicon in an amorphous manner. Measuring only two centimetres square and two millimetres in thickness, you don't want to lose one of these.

Source: Inhabitat

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I read about IBM doing this same thing with a glass cube almost 10 years ago... always wondered when someone else would do it too

neufuse said,
I read about IBM doing this same thing with a glass cube almost 10 years ago... always wondered when someone else would do it too

Yes I remember this! They said the technology was feasible, and I remember them saying that given the angle of the laser involved, would give you "nearly limitless" amounts of storage...

Only trouble was I think it relied on crystals and wasn't re-writable?

Still, promising things lie ahead!

Bryer said,
Just imagine the size of the storage capacity of a standard household window!!!

"Need to destroy my data so nobody can read it!" No problem. *grabs brick*

GreatMarkO said,

Perhaps more realistically, how scratch resistant is this "glass"?!

Should be fine, as long as Apple isn't involved.

Pretty impressive, now generations millions of years into the future will perhaps be able to know exactly how our world was, currently all our media is perishable. (If humans are still here by then that is )

Ely said,
Pretty impressive, now generations millions of years into the future will perhaps be able to know exactly how our world was, currently all our media is perishable. (If humans are still here by then that is )

Those poor future people. ;-)

Same concept as punch cards, but much more advanced.. If it can store enough data, i think it has a great potential to replace cds, dvds... except i guess theses cant be re-writable

Pellumb Hasani said,
Same concept as punch cards, but much more advanced.. If it can store enough data, i think it has a great potential to replace cds, dvds... except i guess theses cant be re-writable

To beat CDs, it has to compete on cost. The reason why we use them is that they are a cheap and disposable storage medium.

Pellumb Hasani said,
Same concept as punch cards, but much more advanced.. If it can store enough data, i think it has a great potential to replace cds, dvds... except i guess theses cant be re-writable

This has no potential to replace optical media.

ingramator said,

This has no potential to replace optical media.

A square inch of this can only hold 40MB so yeah. Optical media is very much dying but it will more than likely be replaced by Nand/Flash.

Also these dont last "forever" like the article states, nothing does. But they're meant to last ridiculously long like 3 billion years.

NoClipMode said,
A square inch of this can only hold 40MB so yeah.

Eh give it time, I'd think it'll improve as they refine the process. Just an example, optical discs were like this at first too. Say the old LaserDiscs, an average movie took both sides of a couple of album sized discs and now look where the technology is at with Blu-Ray.

NoClipMode said,

A square inch of this can only hold 40MB so yeah. Optical media is very much dying but it will more than likely be replaced by Nand/Flash.

CS's aren't thatttt much better. 0.9 Gb/sq. in, so 112.5 MB per square inch. Also note that this medium is only actually 2mm thick, so you could potentially make this multi-layered. There's no need to make this too lightweight since there's no spinning involved like with optical disks.

However, I do also think flash memory is the way of the future, considering how fast it runs and the fact that it's rewritable...

NoClipMode said,

A square inch of this can only hold 40MB so yeah. Optical media is very much dying but it will more than likely be replaced by Nand/Flash.

Also these dont last "forever" like the article states, nothing does. But they're meant to last ridiculously long like 3 billion years.

Being that it is glass I could see this happening.

Person 1: I lost your data.
Person 2: How?
Person 1: I dropped it and now it is in a bunch of fragments

pack34 said,

To beat CDs, it has to compete on cost. The reason why we use them is that they are a cheap and disposable storage medium.


Agreed.