IBM achieves breakthrough in data storage technology, creates world’s smallest storage device

IBM-achieves-breakthrough-in-data-storage-technology,-creates-world's-smallest-storage-device

There has been some pretty neat stuff coming out of the IBM camp as of late. Earlier this week we got a glimpse of the company’s plans to further develop battery technology in electric cars. Now it looks like another research and development division at IBM is hard at work pushing the envelope, and expanding computer storage space on an atomic level.

IBM is calling it Atomic-scale magnetic memory, and it could very well revolutionize the amount of data we are able to store. According to IBM, at its current state, the computer you are working on takes 1 milliont atoms to store 1 bit of data. With IBM’s research efforts into atomic-scale magnetic memory, one bit of data would only require an array of 12 atoms. That’s quite the difference and opens up a world of possibilities.

It all has to do with data density. Being able to increase data density translates directly to how much data can be stored within a given space; in this case we are measuring space in atoms. IBM uses the example of being able to house your entire music and movie collection on a charm-sized pendant around your neck. That’s pretty impressive even by today’s standards when you consider the average size of USB and hard drives — even the smaller ones.

While the technology isn’t entirely new, IBM has been investigating nanotechnology for over two decades now. The fact that the company is turning its attention towards storage capacity isn’t entirely surprising considering there would be a wide demand both among businesses and consumers.

IBM atomic-scale magnetic storage technology

How does it work, though? And how were scientists from IBM’s research team able to accomplish such a task? Well it isn’t as confusing as you might imagine. The team at IBM started by creating a tiny storage device by arranging two rows of six iron atoms on a copper nitride surface, by utilizing antiferromagnetism, which occurs when atoms of an opposing magnetic orientation are positioned near one another, researchers were able to program and store IBM’s motto “Think” on the tiny array. The experiment took place at a temperature of absolute zero, but according to IBM would also be viable at room temperatures, which would bump the up the atom count to 150 — still a far cry from 1 million.

It’s still unclear as to how far off it will be before IBM can successfully offer its technology commercially to consumers, if at all, but it’s still impressive nonetheless. As we delve further into the HD era and the distribution of purely digital content, technology like IBM’s atomic-scale magnetic memory will prove to be quite useful. Besides, how else are we going to store all our favorite Star Trek episodes? 

Computing

Is your PC safe? Foreshadow is the security flaw Intel should have predicted

Three new processor vulnerabilities have appeared under the 'Foreshadow' banner. They're similar in nature to Meltdown and Spectre, only they steal data from different memory spaces. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from X on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.
Mobile

Google One subscriptions offer more cloud storage for low prices, other perks

Can't get enough storage on Google Drive, Photos, or Gmail? Google One is the new way to boost your cloud storage. But it's not just about more space -- Google One comes with a loads of benefits.
Photography

8 easy ways for you to transfer photos from an Android phone to a PC

If you haven't already, you should back up your photos to a computer. Here's how to transfer photos from an Android phone to a PC using third-party services and a wealth of storage devices.
Product Review

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe (late 2017) review

As our Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe (late 2017) review shows, adding an 8th-gen Intel Core processor to an excellent thin and light chassis makes for a great combination.
Computing

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for something without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses with one of these handy services.
Computing

Logitech’s distinctive new ergonomic mouse looks as good as it feels

Logitech's first true ergonomic mouse sports an interesting tilted design that encourages less muscle strain. We spent some time with the MX Vertical to see how comfortable it is and determine whether or not we'd prefer it to a standard…
Computing

Both the Razer Blade and XPS 15 are capable laptops, but which is better?

We pit the latest Dell XPS 15 against the latest Razer Blade 15 to see which machine meets the needs of most people. Both are a fast, attractive, and well-built, but they still appeal to different users.
Computing

Use one of these password managers to stay safe online

The internet can be a scary place, especially if you don't have a proper passcode manager. This guide will show you the best password managers you can get right now, including both premium and free options. Find the right password software…
Mobile

Airport’s low-tech solution to digital chaos involves the humble whiteboard

A U.K. airport has suffered a major computer error, caused by data connection problems, which has stopped flight boards from showing crucial passenger information. The solution is wonderfully low-tech.
Computing

Here’s how to watch Nvidia’s GeForce event at Gamescom

Today is August 20, and that means Nvidia may showcase its GeForce RTX 20 Series of add-in graphics cards for gamers. We’re sticking with that name rather than the previous GTX 11 Series brand due to today’s date.
Computing

HTC breaks down VR barriers by bringing Oculus Rift titles to Viveport

HTC's Viveport store and subscription service will be opened to Oculus Rift users in September this year, letting them buy titles directly and take advantage of the monthly game-delivery service.
Computing

Dell’s new fast-refresh Freesync display could be your next great gaming screen

Dell has debuted a pair of new gaming TN displays, each offering high refresh rates and fast response times to gamers alongside Freesync technology. There are 24- and 27-inch versions of the new screens available now.
Computing

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 20 Series starts at $500 and features real-time ray tracing

Nvidia revealed its new GeForce RTX 2000 Series of add-in desktop graphics cards for gamers during its pre-show Gamescom press event. The new family is based on Nvidia’s new “Turing” architecture focusing on real-time ray tracing.