Some of you born after the turn of the century probably don’t know what a cassette tape is. Ever hear of a “mix tape?” (Man, I’m old.) Even though the technology rode off into the sunset many years ago, Sony this week brought it back into focus by storing a whopping 185TB of data on a single cartridge—that’s roughly the equivalent of 3,700 Blu-Rays. The technology might be ancient compared to our insatiable digital appetites, but the magnetic tape is still a formidable way to back up data.
This isn’t the magnetic tape you’d find in your dad’s Guns N’ Roses cassette, however. Sony said it developed a new method that’s capable of storing 74 times more data than conventional magnetic tape media. According to Sony, the newly developed method uses “a soft magnetic under layer with a smooth interface using sputter disposition,” which creates “a on-grained magnetic layer with fine magnetic particles and uniform crystalline orientation.” The new technology has the world’s highest areal recording density for tape storage—148GB per square inch.
This breakthrough doesn’t mean we’ll all start moving back to cassettes; this is more for industrial-sized data backup. But it’s funny how something so ancient can make such a glorious come back. What’s next? VHS?