Cassettes Coming Back In a New Way

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Cassette tapes are dead. Long live cassette tapes! The music staple of the late 20th century is making a comeback in the form of big data storage. That's right, kids, the same thing that made the mix tape possible in the 80s could hold tomorrow's pictures and mp3 files.

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Fuji Film and IBM have created a prototype cassette measuring 4x4x1 inches that can hold up to 35 terabytes of information, or about 8,750,000 songs. The data is stored on a strip of magnetic tape made from particles of barium ferrite. But don't bust out your "Saved By the Bell" torrents to save them on tape just yet. As of right now, the cassettes are being developed for big data storage use only, i.e. server farms.

The cassettes are actually the opening act for the new computer from IBM called the Square Kilometer Array telescope. When it's finished in 2024, this radio telescope will be the world's largest, able to push out one petabyte of data per day, or about 1 million gigabytes. When news came out earlier this year about IBM developing this super-data pusher, they mentioned "next-generation tape systems" as a storage method. Who knew the next generation would have such a familiar face?

via New Scientist

Credit: Lawrence Manning/Corbis