During CES 2012, we were invited to a demo ioSafe was doing to promote just how tough their hard drive enclosures are and how important it is to keep data safe. We were excited to see what they had planned this year, as the previous year they took the press out to a shooting range to use their hard drives as targets. We were not disappointed as it was spectacular to witness, although shooting is a more engaging activity that is difficult to compete with.

This year we were taken to a country club with indoor tennis courts that had been cleared out for the purpose of setting up a giant Tesla coil. We were told to put our bags/backpacks in a small faraday cage in order to protect them from the effects of the Tesla coil. Interestingly, there were two jumper cables attached to the faraday cage, and although I was aware faraday cages do not require any electricity to function, I did not dwell on it. Also strange was a large tub of water located just in front of the small faraday cage, but I figured it would be used for part of the demo, and although I was correct, I did not think it would be used the way it was.

The demonstrator, Robb Moore, who is also the CEO of ioSafe, invited a member of the press to copy some files onto the external drive he had plugged into a computer, and asked us to come up with some phrases to put in a document which was also copied over. We were then led into the large faraday cage for press as they fired up the Tesla coil.

The Tesla coil was built and operated by Austin Richards aka Dr Megavolt. After exposing multiple objects as well as the hard drive (in the enclosure of course) to the Tesla coil multiple times, the coil was powered down and it was time to see if the data was still there.

We were shocked and panicked when the demonstrator tripped over the jumper cables attached to the faraday cage holding our bags (which was suspiciously covered by a blanket), which then fell into the large tub of water. Of course, my first thought was ?my backpack was at the very back of the cage, meaning it was not actually submerged?, but other members of the press simply stared in shock as Robb pretended to panic. He then ran to a table and pulled out the original faraday cage which actually had our bags in it from underneath. They had hidden the original cage with our bags and replaced it with an empty one while the press was facing the demo. He then explained that it was to demonstrate the value of backup, a service which ioSafe provides.
Robb then proceeded to plug the drive that had been zapped into the computer, but was having trouble reading the data. In a somewhat agitated state, he began attempting recovery by unplugging and re-plugging power to the device. He then removed the SSDs (which were in a RAID 1 mirrored array for data security) and connected them to a different interface. After a long while of attempting recovery, he was successful and we were able to see the original files and open the document that we had drafted, which was fully intact.

Here is the video we took of the demo:


More recently, ioSafe is giving away a 500 GB ioSafe Rugged Portable drive to a randomly selected person who can correctly guess the reason behind some strange noises mentioned in this post.