This week, during the International Magnetics Conference in Dresden, Sony revealed a new project they’ve been working on which pushes an old medium to places unimaginably new. Using a new technique, the company has developed a cassette tape that can hold 148 gigabytes per square inch. Which means one inch of this tape holds more data than an entire Bluray disc. A full cassette could hold up to 185 terabytes, which is an amount so enormous it’s difficult to even realistically imagine (I mean, that’s over 180,000 gigs). ExtremeTech.com explained a little bit about the process by which Sony created this record breaking storage amount:
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.
Sony has announced plans to go commercial with the tape and continue experimenting and pushing the development technique further. While this is really incredible, and there’s the potential for some beneficial applications, don’t jump on this being an iPod-killer or some grand step forward in music, movie, or video game storage. As ExtremeTech points out, the read and write times for tape are still extremely bad and have always been better suited to being a space for data backup. So we’re not taking the first steps toward a retro-futurist utopia, but nonetheless the potential for this is impressive.