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Permanent 'Superman crystal' holographic storage is etched with the Bible, Magna Carta

Mark Hachman | Feb. 17, 2016
A type of crystalline storage with an estimated lifespan of billions of years has been tested with documents encoded using the technology.

That’s the goal that the Southampton researchers also hope to accomplish. 

“It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations,” said Professor Peter Kazansky of the university’s Optoelectronics Research Center, in a statement. “This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilization: All we’ve learnt will not be forgotten.”

The 5D “Superman crystals” technology was first proven out in 2013, when a 300-kilobit file was encoded. Now, the researchers have encoded the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Newton’s Opticks, the Magna Carta, and the King James Bible using the technology.

The Southampton team plans to present a paper on the subject at the International Society for Optical Engineering Conference in San Francisco this week, where hopefully questions will be asked and answered on two issues: exactly how fast data is encoded and read, and the projected cost of such a solution. The researchers also say that they're looking for a company to help commercialize the technology.

The Southampton ORC released a video showing the encoding process, which uses what the researchers claim is a “ultrafast” laser. However, it’s just not clear how fast data can be read and written to the medium.

Still, the goal here is to create a permanent means of storing information, not a fast one. if such a process could be made viable, it’s not impossible to believe that humanity could build another Great Library of knowledge, one that could last virtually forever.


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