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IBM Just Made a Huge Advancement in Media Technology

Sometimes huge breakthroughs come in tiny packages. A collaboration between IBM and Sony just broke the world record for most gigabits per square inch on prototype sputtered magnetic tape. The new record is 201 gigabits — 20 times more than what fits on current commercial tape drives. IBM and Sony announced the results of the project at the 28th Magnetic Recording Conference (TMRC 2017) in Tsukuba, Japan, on August 2nd.

The Project, Explained

The project’s researchers managed to place 330 terabytes of uncompressed data into a cartridge that’s small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. That’s the same amount of information as about 330 million books. This achievement required IBM and Sony to develop several new technologies. They had to create new advanced roll-to-roll capabilities and improve the lubricant used in magnetic tape. These advancements enabled this project in a big way, but could help other ones be successful as well.