May 14, 2012 at 1:40 PM ET
If you've ever tried to "zero all data" on your computer's magnetic hard disk, you know it can take hours. A Japanese company has created a device that will instantly erase all the data on a drive, a breakthrough that could make shredding digital information simple and recycling your old laptop less risky.
Data on hard disk or other digital storage device such as magnetic tapes, is recorded using magnetic alignments. The Data Killer from Platform of Japan uses a strong magnetic field change all the magnetic alignments in your drive to point in the same direction, news video website Diginfo TV reported.
Put your hard drive from your PC into the machine and bam, all that data is gone for good. Larger models developed by the company will even allow you to put in your entire laptop, or up to 14 individual drives. It's such an obvious concept, it's hard to understand why it took so long to come to market.
“You can think of it as a 'data crusher.' It erases data instantly. If you have data you need to get rid of, Data Killer can do it without taking lots of time," Michishi Nanayama, the company’s CEO, told Diginfo.
Best of all, the wiped drives can be re-used, cutting down on the unnecessary e-waste that arises out of a concern for privacy.
Here's hoping this takes off. The product would be great for retailers with recycling programs. Take in your old computer, pop in the hard drive, and have no worries that your data can be accessed by identity thieves on down the line.
-- Via Diginfo
John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. To learn more about him, check out his website and follow him on Twitter. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.