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Tech Innovation: Scientists Developed a 5D Data Storage That Could Preserve Human History for Billion of Years

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(Credit: Three Lions/Getty Images) 1955: A man looks at one of the first documents published by the United Nations, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Human Rights
February 17
7:05 AM 2016

Scientists have found a way to preserve human history whereas information could be stored for billion of years. A team of scientists at the University of Southhampton's Optoelectronics Research Center (ORC) in the UK developed a storage system called the 5D digital data storage.

The storage technology will use an advanced type of CD to record the information. One disc will have a capacity of up to 360 terabytes. The storage will also have a thermal stability up to 1,000 degree Celsius. If stored at the temperature up to 190 degree Celsius, the information inside the discs will remain accessible for 13.8 billion years.

Inc. described how the technology works. The discs use a nanostructured glass, where big data could be recorded using lasers that create three layers of microscopic dots or nanogratings, separated by five micrometers. Each layer will store information in the form of dots that are arranged in different patterns to represent different pieces of information, similar to the mechanism used in existing CDs or record album. However, like never before, the information is located inside a layer of fused quartz, which basically is pure glass.

The data can be read using a microscope and a polarized lens. And the five-dimensional (5D) storage, as the name implies, means that the data can be projected three-dimensionally when retrieved. The data can also preserve the original orientation and strength of the light, making it five-dimensional.

Professor Peter Kazansky from the ORC stated the importance of the new technology discovery. "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 civilization: all we've learnt will not be forgotten," he stated at the University of Southampton's website.

Major documents from the history of humanity, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR), Newton's Opticks, the Magna Carta, and some religious texts have been stored in this format so that the original information could survive the human race. Earlier this month, the team of scientists from the ORC already presented the copy of the UNDHR to UNESCO, stored in this new advanced storage system technology, as reported by Inverse.

As for now, the team is looking for industry partners to further develop and commercialize this new technology. It is likely that the technology could be widely produced and used for various purposes, especially to preserve and archive important documents and information.

The 5D storage system will provide a way to preserve human history, surviving extreme temperature and time. Libraries, as well as museums and other physical storage, could be archived in its discs with a capacity of 360 terabytes with five-dimensional features and qualities. 

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