Opal Yong-ae has stumbled upon the notes of a recently deceased mage, Dr Lyle. She can tell from the notes that whatever the spell was, it was going to be big. The components of the spell are rare and expensive and if they're still around somewhere, she could resell them for a lot of money. The notes don't reveal where the spell was going to be cast, but in Dr Lyle's papers she finds a to list, which has an item to code the spell coordinates into his biomechanical hand. That item is crossed off.
Opal manages to recover Dr Lyle's hand and takes it to a specialist to get the code unlocked so she can get the coordinates. The specialist unlocks the hand, but it can only be read by a person who connects it to their own biomechanical parts. Luckily, Opal's business partner has a biomechanical arm. He attaches Dr Lyle's hand to his arm and the pair use it to find their treasure.
It's good fortune that Dr Lyle kept good enough notes about his spell that Opal could read them and eventually learn how to find where it would be cast. It's also fortunate that she could get someone to get through the hand's encryption. But most surprisingly lucky is that the hand could be read by Opal's business partner's arm. If you think about how technology works in our world, we face problems of interoperability all the time. Mac vs PC. Apple vs Chrome. The endless selection of dongles needed to connect one device to another or just to charge one. Ensuring that the people who need to work with your data actually can requires a bit of future thinking. Open file formats are the best way to accomplish this. Read more on the Interoperable page of our Data Management for Researchers guide or the Sustainable File Formats page of our Data Management Best Practices guide.