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Cassette Tapes Could Make a Big Comeback

Music Flourishes in Iran cassettes
Raheb, Getty Images

Remember the good ol’ days when you didn’t need some kind of magical, electronic device like the iPod to listen to your music? Cassette tapes haven’t completely disappeared from our existence. In fact, they might just be the way of the future.

New Scientist reported that researchers are finding new uses for this old technology as a way of storing scads of data that can even rival the most modern electronic hard drive.

For instance, the world’s largest radio telescope called the Square Kilometre Array might store its data on cassettes instead of hard drives when it begins running in 2024. Thanks to developments by Fuji Film and IBM, a magnetic tape can store 35 terabytes of data on a single cassette. Since storage requirements are sure to rise over time, hard drives won’t be able to match the pace as easily as cassettes.

Cassette tapes also require less energy to run for data centers. A study conducted in 2010 found that tapes use 200 times less power than traditional disc drive arrays because they don’t have to constantly run to be able to store and access data. The only downsides is that cassettes are a bit slower than traditional hard drives. However, a new filing system is being developed to catch them up with traditional storage devices.

Does this mean the 8-track could once again become the most advanced form of media on the planet?

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