Will the past be the key to the future? Sony seems to think so.
In a startling advance of old technology, Sony has managed to create a cassette tape capable of holding 125 terabytes of information. Just to put it in perspective, that would be a stack of 50GB Blu-rays stacked 14.3 feet high to equal the same amount of storage space. That's a lot of Blu-rays!
So, what's the skinny on the science?
"In order to create the new tape, Sony employed the use of sputter deposition, which creates layers of magnetic crystals by firing argon ions at a polymer film substrate. Combined with a soft magnetic under-layer, the magnetic particles measured in at just 7.7 nanometers on average, able to be closely packed together."
What this means is that the particulates used to store information on the tape were created even smaller so that more data can be stored on magnetic tape. The storage of magnetic tape went from 29.5 GB per square inch in 2010 to a whopping 148GB per square inch. That's the storage of three Blu-rays on something only a little bit bigger than a postage stamp!
But don't rush out to the basement to dust off your old cassette player just yet. These cassettes are best for long-term back up storage, and they're definitely not easy to write or read, since they usually take forever and a day to access.