The one downfall of digital storage is the fact that it burns out, deteriorates, gets scratched and generally doesn’t last forever. Well, that problem has pretty much been solved.
Engadget reports that a team of researchers at the University of Southampton's Optical Research Center have figured out a method to record data in five dimensions in a way that will keep it safe and secure for billions of years. Yes, you read that right — billion with a “b.” The technique literally etches the data into a thermally stable disc using femtosecond laser bursts.
The files themselves are comprised of three layers of nanoscale dots, with the side and orientations (along with the standard three dimensions) making up the namesake five dimensions. The dots are read through a microscope and polarizer and change their polarization as light travels through them.
"It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations," Professor Peter Kazansky from the ORC said in a statement via Engadget. "This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilisation: all we've learnt will not be forgotten."
The test files include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Newton's Opticks, the Magna Carta and Kings James Bible. So, even if the world ends tomorrow, at least a few of the most important and historical documents in human history will be preserved.
This technology is fascinating, and the implications are amazing. Just think — the latest Taylor Swift album could be preserved forever. It’ll be interesting to see how this method evolves, and how it might be utilized in the future.