In a secret bunker deep in the Swiss Alps, European researchers on Tuesday deposited a "digital genome" that will provide the blueprint for future generations to read data stored using defunct technology.

Accompanied by burly security guards in black uniforms, scientists carried a time capsule through a labyrinth of tunnels and five security zones to a vault near the slopes of chic ski resort Gstaad.

The sealed box containing the key to unpick defunct digital formats will be locked away for the next quarter of a century behind a 3-1/2 tonne door strong enough to resist nuclear attack at the data storage facility, known as the Swiss Fort Knox.

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