A group of Japanese researchers has managed to achieve a remarkable reduction in the physical size of solid state drives, while retaining their data storage size. They've shrunk them by 90%.

The team, led by Tadahiro Kuroda, also boosted the energy efficiency of the devices, making them more than 70% more efficient. It means that a 1TB SSD can be taken down to the size of a postage stamp (albeit quite a bit thicker).

The drive in the picture was created in this way, by stacking 128 NAND flash memory chips on top of each other, with a controller chip co-ordinating it all. Each communicates with each other over short-range radio signals, which apparently lowers the production costs of the devices.

What that means for us consumers is that by 2012, we could have ridiculously large amounts of storage crammed into tiny devices. That's when the team thinks that a practical version could appear to manufacturers. Is it just us, or does the future seem closer than ever?