Created By: Earnest on April 11, 2012 Last Edited By: Earnest on April 20, 2012
Troped

Data Crystal

Store information in a crystalline, or glasslike, form.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

Rather than use magnetic, optical, flash drive or solid-state drive based information storage mediums, in the future there will be ways to read and write data onto transparent crystaline solids. The crystals may be shaped like quartz, techno Crystal Balls or as diamond or gem cut jewelry.

Data Crystals often double as video recorders and Hologram emitters, allowing owners to record, store and project their home movies. Because Power Glows, these Data Crystal hologram projectors can often even do without an external power source.

Sub-Trope of Power Crystal and Mineral MacGuffin, often used by resident of Crystal Spires and Togas.

Film
  • In Superman II, Superman's Fortress of Solitude at the North Pole had a system that stored information on crystals.

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • Space Cases: The Android Thelma exhibited odd behavior throughout the show due to a memory crystal that Harlan accidentally damaged in the first episode. The main ship in the series, the Crysta, also used similar technology.
  • Alphas, one episode featured a necklace made from some strange crystals, and they figure out that it stores information on specially arranged molecule structures.
  • In the first season of Fringe, there were the glass disks and they were data storage devices, Massive Dynamic was able to read information from them.
  • Farscape, too, had data crystals in several episodes, most notably the navigation crystal in "DNA Mad Scientist."
  • Hyperdrive featured this trope being replaced by even more effective crystals (as a DVD to Blu-Ray analogue).
  • Tracker had this, they were maps stored on crystals. The first one got left behind at an alien-theme restaurant after a fight, but Cole found the second one hidden in a stored museum piece. They were maps of the Lake Michigan area to show the way to the Doomsday Device hidden under the Watchfire bar.
  • Shows up occasionally in Star Trek, primarily in later TNG, DS9, and Voyager.

  • In the Stargate 'verse most space-faring species use crystals extensively in their computers. In one case a storage crystal from an old Go'uld research base is dismissed as a simple decoration by the archaeologists.
  • Data Crystals are a popular intergalactic standard in Babylon 5.

Tabletop RPG
  • Shadowrun. Information can stored on optical crystals ("chips"). This includes cyberdeck components.

Video Games
  • Final Fantasy X has Spheres, which hold holographic recordings.
  • The Halo series has these and uses them for storing artificial intelligences. Less complex data is simply transmitted.

Web Original
  • In Orion's Arm, the "ultimate chip", doesn't look like a single crystal and was originally intended for use as a processor for very advanced distributed computing, can also store massive amounts of data, and is made of diamondoid, which is a crystal.

Western Animation

Real Life
  • The reason for this trope is because crystals have been suggested as a storage medium for holographic memory.

Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • April 11, 2012
    Alvin
    Sorry if this is too vague, but I think in Live-Action Television Star Trek (TNG and those set later) and Stargate also have this.
  • April 11, 2012
    Generality
    ^ They do.

    In some versions of the Superman story, crystals from Krypton make up a library in the Fortress of Solitude.
  • April 11, 2012
    KTera
    The Halo series has these.
  • April 11, 2012
    zarpaulus
    • In the Stargate 'verse most space-faring species use crystals extensively in their computers. In one case a storage crystal from an old Go'uld research base is dismissed as a simple decoration by the archaeologists.

    The reason for this trope is because crystals have been suggested as a storage medium for holographic memory.
  • April 11, 2012
    fulltimeD
    • Shows up occasionally in Star Trek, primarily in later TNG, DS 9, and Voyager.
  • April 11, 2012
    chicagomel
    Tracker had this, they were maps stored on crystals. The first one got left behind at an alien-theme restaurant after a fight, but Cole found the second one hidden in a stored museum piece. They were maps of the Lake Michigan area to show the way to the Doomsday Device hidden under the Watchfire bar.
  • April 11, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Never, never lead your description by calling it Exactly What It Says On The Tin.
  • April 12, 2012
    Arivne
    A specific Superman example:

    Film
    • In Superman II, Superman's Fortress of Solitude at the North Pole had a system that stored information on crystals.

    Tabletop RPG
    • Shadowrun. Information can stored on optical crystals ("chips"). This includes cyberdeck components.
  • April 12, 2012
    fulltimeD
    In the first season of Fringe, the team kept discovering glass discs inside the palms of persons involved in Fringe Cases. Later in the season, Peter discovered that they were a recording device, and was able to play back the data recovered from one.

    Farscape, too, had data crystals in several episodes, most notably the navigation crystal in "DNA Mad Scientist."
  • April 12, 2012
    Earnest
    ^^^ I'm sure you mean well, but if you're trying to change someone's behaviour you may want to try using supporting argumentation, otherwise it just comes off as bossy. For example, since when is it a bad thing to use Exactly What It Says On The Tin? Is it a new change in a forum thread, is it on the good style pages? Just ordering something (not) be done doesn't really help me understand why.
  • April 12, 2012
    Bisected8
    • Hyperdrive featured this trope being replaced by even more effective crystals (as a DVD to Blu-Ray analogue).
  • April 13, 2012
    fulltimeD
    re: the Fringe example

    I remembered it wrong. There were the glass disks and they were data storage devices, but Massive Dynamic was able to read information from them, not Peter. Peter's reading data off a warped piece of glass was a different scenario that did not involve one of the embedded glass disks.
  • April 14, 2012
    Stratadrake
    @Earnest: You definitely got me on being blunt there. The issue with Exactly What It Says On The Tin is that EWISOTT is horribly misused.
  • April 14, 2012
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Live Action TV:

    Not sure if these count:

    Live Action Television:

    Web Origional
    • In Orions Arm, the "ultimate chip", doesn't look like a single crystal and was originally intended for use as a processor for very advanced distributed computing, can also store massive amounts of data, and is made of diamondoid, which is a crystal.
  • April 14, 2012
    LogicallyDashing
    Isn't solid-state memory crystalline in structure? We don't get to see it, because it's delivered wrapped in plastic.
  • April 14, 2012
    zarpaulus
    ^ I don't think so, it's integrated circuitry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_drive
  • April 14, 2012
    KZN02
    BIONICLE: Memory Crystals
  • April 14, 2012
    Boston
    Star Wars has holocron crystals.
  • April 14, 2012
    Earnest
    @Stratadrake: Oooh, okay then. I've seen it in a few other article descriptions, I'll see if I can't track 'em down and change them.
  • April 14, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    If you want to add more to the Halo example, write: The Halo series uses these for storing artificial intelligences. Less complex data is simply transmitted.
  • April 14, 2012
    AmazingLagann
    Alphas, one episode featured a necklace made from some strange crystals, and they figure out that it stores information on specially arranged molecule structures.
  • April 15, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Space Cases: The Android Thelma exhibited odd behavior throughout the show due to a memory crystal that Harlan accidentally damaged in the first episode. The main ship in the series, the Crysta, also used similar technology.
  • April 20, 2012
    DrakeClawfang
    Star Craft, the Protoss are an almost literal Crystal Spires And Togas society and use crystals as power sources and to store their thoughts and knowledge on. The Warp Prism transport in the sequel is actually described as a crystal computer, able to scan lifeforms and machines, convert them to energy and store the data in its databanks, then reconfigure them from energy back into matter.
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