Narrator: This is Science Today. New technology that can non-invasively digitize very old and fragile recordings has been developed by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It involves a virtual stylus that can digitally recover historic recordings. Physicist Carl Haber explains these are not your parents' vinyl records.
Haber: Many people alive today remember the LP and some of us even have them. But if you go back in time, you find a greater variety of recording technologies and a variety of problems with them.
Narrator: This includes materials such as wax, shellac, plaster, paper — even tin foil.
Haber: So archivists are faced with old materials, some of which have been degraded or even broken and then obsolete formats. So, the nice thing about a virtual stylus or this kind of non-invasive method is you can use software to essentially reproduce the playback mechanism rather than reconstructing an antique machine.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.