Most of us can probably remember our first phones or computers and our journey into becoming more and more tech savvy. A lot of people will testify to the fact that one of the most immediate problems that came with each upgrade was that of space to store data. It’s one of the many reasons we kept trading up, exchanging this model for that model that would afford us more space for data storage, yet we still ended up needing more.
Science alert estimates that human beings produce the equivalent of 10 million Blu-ray discs’ worth of data every single day, data that has to be stored somewhere. Researchers in the UK may have just come up with a solution. Using a process called femtosecond laser writing, that in essence creates small discs of glass using an ultrafast laser which generates short and intense pulses of light, researchers have created a five-dimensional (5D) digital data disc that can store 360 terabytes of data for 13.8 billion years.
These pulses can write data in three layers of nanostructured dots separated by 5 micrometres. The researchers say that the glass is so strong, it could out-survive the human race. With an ability to survive temperatures of up to 1000 degrees celsius and possess a “virtually unlimited lifetime” at room temperature, the researchers tout that it will “open a new era of eternal data archiving”.
A team at the University of Southampton first developed the technology in 2013, and have stored a number of historical documents as digital copies, perhaps forever. This innovation could be used by large organisations seeking to archive data including libraries or museums. Peter Kazansky who worked on the project enthuses; “It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations…This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilisation; all we’ve learned will not be forgotten.”
Humanity however still has the added job of building and powering a machine to read said unbreakable data. So in case you were really lacking a reason to live right, here’s one; millions of generations down the line could have access to your exploits and discoveries. What a thought!