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Want to make your 1TB hard drive to hold 6TB of data? Simple add salt to it! Scientists in Singapore were able to create drives of 1TB capacity and store 6TB of data without any equipment upgrades or software changes. Scientists at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in collaboration with National University of Singapore and the Data Storage Institute discovered that simply adding table salt to a solution used when creating hard drives increased the capacity by almost six times.

This advance means a hard drives holding 1 Terabyte (TB) of data today could hold 6 TB of data within the same size and form factor. The salt causes this increase because it forces the bits into predictable, organized patterns on your hard drive. A*STAR said that it thought of the idea similar to packing your luggage when you are about to fly. The neater you pack them the more you can carry.

The secret to their research lies in their salty solution. Using an existing production method the scientists discovered adding table salt would produce highly defined nanostructures without the need for expensive equipment upgrades.This ‘salty developer solution’ method was invented by Dr. Yang who is a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This method is still, solidly, in the development stages. Dr. Yang hinted the salty bit-patterning process will be adopted by the industry by 2016 “when the current techniques run out of fuel and need to find alternate methods” of increasing data storage space.

Now don’t run off to dip your hard drive in salt water, if you did well, a new one is cheap enough to buy!

[Discovery]

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