Long term data storage is tricky. Hard discs and magnetic tapes lose their charge, CDs and DVDs are easy to scratch, and forget about punch cards. Now a student at the University of Twente has developed an optical storage system he says will survive for up to a billion years — even if you barbecue it.

Basically, Jeroen de Vries invented a mega QR code disc. Etched into tungsten and covered by silicon nitride, the large QR code is made of individual QR pixels. It's a tough one; since there's no magnetic charge to lose, the data shrugs off an hour in a 400+ degree oven, which researchers say simulates over one million years at normal temps. And, y'know, you can use it as a tiny egg pan or chuck it in a barbecue. Because data that survives the apocalypse is worthless if you've got nothing to cook with. [PhysOrg]