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October 16, 2009

Digital Rosetta Stone for Digital Storage for 1000 years



Tadahiro Kuroda, an electrical engineering professor at Keio University in Japan, has invented what he calls a "Digital Rosetta Stone," a wireless memory chip sealed in silicon that he says can store data for 1,000 years.

Currently long term data storage requires: Data typically has to be put on new storage systems every 20 years or less for it to be accessible. The digital migration costs time and money. Storing and maintaining a digital master of a very high-resolution movie, for example, costs $12,500 a year; archiving a standard film costs $1,000 a year.


Kuroda's method: Instead of moving data as electrons through wires, as occurs in standard semiconductors, Kuroda’s sealed stack of wafers allows information to be beamed wirelessly on radio waves. This is a variation on radio-frequency identification technology, used in everything from scannable passports to inventory tracking. A single wafer, or "reader," is used to remove data wirelessly, in the same way information in your car’s E-ZPass is extracted when you go through a toll booth. "A hard disk may crash one day," says Kuroda. "If you replace it with a semiconductor device, there are no mechanics to fail."


Kuroda's work is more near term than using reversible mass transport nanotubes to create super high density billion year memory.



Kuroda needs $1 million to build a working model of the 312-gig archive. So far he and his students have developed the small memory chip with support from the Japan Science & Technology Agency. If he can get them built, Kuroda says, one of his memory chips would cost $625.


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