An international team of scientists has demonstrated a new method of magnetic recording that could allow hard drives to transfer data hundreds of times faster than is possible with current technology — the researchers discovered that they could record information using only heat, which they say wasn't previously thought to be possible. University of York physicist Thomas Ostler says that the method allows for hard drive recording speeds of terabytes per second, and that it uses less energy than conventional systems that utilize magnetic fields. Scientists say that their method allows the positions of the North and South poles of a magnet to be inverted by a brief heat pulse that harnesses the power of "much stronger internal forces of magnetic media."

The research was led by the University of York's department of physics, and the results appear in the February edition of Nature Communications. As usual, at this stage of research there's no guarantee that technology will be available in computers of the future, but it certainly seems like the tech has consumer-oriented applications.