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Non-invasive approach to recovering historical recordings

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.