There are still plenty of us around who used floppy drives to store our data

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There are still plenty of us around who used floppy drives to store our data.


They could store a whopping 1.44 megabytes of data. Back in the 80’s.

Now leap to the present day, and consider this. Imagine if individual atoms could store data.

Dutch researchers are working on doing just that, and can fit 500 terabits of data in a single square inch. That’s right: 500 terabits, or 62.5 terabytes, in a drive the size of a postage stamp.

This atomic hard drive is 500 times denser than current solid-state drives, but don’t look for it on the market anytime soon.

The drive features chlorine atoms on a copper surface, which results in a perfectly square grid. A “hole” appears in the grid any time an atom is missing, meaning you can remove atoms to create the on/off dualism that’s essential to all data storage.

“The combination of chlorine atoms and supporting copper crystal surface that we found now, combined with the fact that we manipulate ‘holes’ — just as in a sliding puzzle — makes for a much more reliable, reproducible, and scalable manipulation technique that can easily be automated,” said Otte. “It is as if we have invented the atomic scale printing press.”

Using this as the basis, the team managed to write all sorts of data, including the entire text of Richard Feynman’s famous lecture, “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” and Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species.”

The upsides here are obvious: that’s a lot of storage density. Are there any downsides? As it turns out, yes. Right now the technology needs to be cooled down to liquid nitrogen temperatures, or -346 degrees F, in order to function. And the read/write speeds are pretty slow, according to Otte.

So this technology isn’t exactly ready for market at this point. But if this kind of scale can be replicated at room temperature someday, the future of storage could be very bright. It’s all a matter of time!

Tougher, Stronger and thinner!

Your smartphone’s glass is about to get a whole lot stronger. Corning recently unveiled the fifth generation of its Gorilla Glass, which it touts as being able to survive 1.6 meter (5.25 feet) drops as much as 80 percent of the time.

Gorilla Glass is known for its strength, and is used by a huge range of phone manufacturers. V4 of the glass was tested up to drops of 1 metre, whereas the extra 0.6m of drop tested with V5 makes it a whole lot more realistic in terms of real word usage. Should be available on smartphones by the end of the year.

RIP VHS.

I suspect we all remember splashing out on our first VHS recorder. A huge box that typically sat underneath the CRT television and cost a small fortune. Well, the very last videocassette recorder (VCR) in Japan will have been produced by the end of the July

Funai Electric has been producing VHS-playing VCRs for 33 years, most recently in China for Sanyo.

But last year it sold just 750,000 units, down from a peak of 15 million a year, and has been finding it difficult to source the necessary parts.

VCRs were introduced in the 1970s but were superseded by DVD technology (which is now archaic also). I still have dozens of VHS tapes in store, and even now I have no VHS player to play them on anyway. Ah well, time for a clearout!

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