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Holographic-memory discs may put DVDs to shame

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  • Holographic-memory discs may put DVDs to shame

    Wow, InPhase Technologies is located about 30 miles south of me in Longmont, CO. Nice, I should go check them out

    http://www.newscientist.com/article....ine-news_rss20

    A computer disc about the size of a DVD that can hold 60 times more data is set to go on sale in 2006. The disc stores information through the interference of light – a technique known as holographic memory.

    The discs, developed by InPhase Technologies, based in Colorado, US, hold 300 gigabytes of data and can be used to read and write data 10 times faster than a normal DVD. The company, along with Japanese partner Hitachi Maxell announced earlier in November that they would start selling the discs and compatible drives from the end of 2006.

    "Unlike other technologies, that record one data bit at a time, holography allows a million bits of data to be written and read in parallel with a single flash of light," says Liz Murphy, of InPhase Technologies. "This enables transfer rates significantly higher than current optical storage devices."

    The discs, at 13 centimetres across, are a little wider than conventional DVDs, and slightly thicker. Normal DVDs record data by measuring microscopic ridges on the surface of a spinning disc. Two competing successors to the DVD format – Blu-ray and HD-DVD – use the same technique but exploit shorter wavelengths of light to cram more information onto a surface.
    Beam-splitter

    Holographic memory, by contrast, stores information in a light-sensitive crystal material using the interference of laser light. The process involves splitting a single light beam into two and then passing one through a semi-transparent material. This is a grid that acts like a filter, changing different parts of the beam to encode bits of information.

    The altered beam and the reference beam are then recombined in the light-sensitive material and their pattern of interference provides a record of the encoded information. Information can be recorded and retrieved so rapidly because many bits of data can be recorded and read in parallel.

    InPhase says the technique could theoretically be used to store up to 1.6 terabytes of data on the same size of disc and to read data at 120 megabits per second. This is 340 times the capacity of an ordinary DVD and 20 times the data rate.
    High-speed streaming

    Although holographic memory was first suggested in 1963, it has failed to find commercial success so far. However, Hans Coufal, an expert in the technology at IBM's Almaden Laboratory in California, says the holographic memory could challenge formats such as Blu-ray and HD-DVD.

    As well as offering greater storage, Coufal says the main benefit is speed of data access. The discs developed so far by InPhase can already stream a movie recorded in high definition television (HDTV) format.

    However, Coufal notes that the technology must also stand up to everyday use. "It is an open race right now," he told New Scientist. "But you have to convince the customer that it is going to be reliable."
    45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B0
    45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B1
    [ redacted ]

  • #2
    Sounds great in theory, but I am going to guess that readers/writers for the new media will cost a pretty penny. Hopefully it will be more mainstream available in the next 4-5 years.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by minihacker316
      Sounds great in theory, but I am going to guess that readers/writers for the new media will cost a pretty penny. Hopefully it will be more mainstream available in the next 4-5 years.
      Like all new storage mediums it probably won't have much of a user base at all until about two years after it comes out. The thing that will make people want to buy it is if someone starts bundling their computers with them or if software starts being delivered on the discs. The average consumer just doesn't feel comfortable buying something that isn't widely supported.
      Otherwise the majority of people just won't bother.
      The dude abides.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Xodia
        Like all new storage mediums it probably won't have much of a user base at all until about two years after it comes out. The thing that will make people want to buy it is if someone starts bundling their computers with them or if software starts being delivered on the discs. The average consumer just doesn't feel comfortable buying something that isn't widely supported.
        Otherwise the majority of people just won't bother.
        I think it it more along the lines of the average consumer does not like buying something they do not understand or do not see a need for them when what they have will do.
        Did Everquest teach you that?

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        • #5
          Was like 3 years ago I took an artical to a local meeting about crystal storage devices. At the time they were exploring storing data within crystal cubes.

          Heres another article with a picture of the drive.
          InPhase 300GB Disc

          However 3 years ago I think they were discussing less than 70gb on a 1x1 inch cube. Now they are talking 300gb on a thin disc.

          Talk about making it reality.. according to one website on holographic storage, it was first proposed in 1963 that an estimated 768gb of data could be stored on a crystal the size of a sugar cube.

          Only took 40 years to make it happen, or at least to make it economically affordable to the public.

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          • #6
            Forget about perpendicular recording; that’s so last week. If Colorado- based InPhase Technologies has its way, the next big advance in data storage will be holographic media. The company — which rolled out a prototype holographic drive earlier this year — announced today that it has produced a holographic disc that can hold 300GB on a single disc. InPhase says that the discs (which will be write-once media) and compatible drives should ship next year, with terabyte discs available by 2009. According to the company, its holographic technology records “through the full depth” of the storage media, and can record data a million bits at a time. We figure it should be able to hold our whole movie collection, with room left over for some lossless music as well.
            Furthermore the drive is huge, did you see that pic? I can only see 4 uses for this drive:

            1) Educational. It could hold all a classroom's needs on one disk, so less of a mess with the ability to grab whatever a teacher or student needed 'on the fly'. In fact, a school could, in theory, spend less money by making this drive non-writeable and making it accessable to every computer on an intranet and have the TVs hooked to the computers as well as secondairy monitors. A school could buy computers for much less, not needing as large harddrives to hold the same information over and over. I am sure, even though this drive would be expensive, when you factor 100 computers total(small school) and add that up, the drive will look inexpensive in comparison to adding a larger drive to all 100 computers or buying a 101st computer with a large hd.

            2) Businesses could use this disk to hold files that would not be changeable, except for adding to it. They could also use it in a simular application as above.

            3) Militairy applications. The F-22 Raptor has a computer onboard currently that is the speed of 3 Cray Supercomputers combined. If you watch the movie "Stealth" that does not even touch what the Raptor's computer is capable of. It would save alot of space to have a 300gb hotswap drive that could hold all flight info and be updated at the end of each mission. Between satellite photography, maps, charts, pictures, actually flying the plane...the computer is busy. It could, in theory, hold what could be considered a "illustrated flight log". I am sure you could mount the same thing on practicly anything, including space shuttles, tanks or cars.

            4) It can be used as a very expensive frisbee.

            Now, I gotta say, I agree with Xodia. The majority of the world's population that uses a computer...uses windows. Linux is a much more stable platform, but people want something they know is widely supported and easy to use. Many people still use floppy drives in their pc and don't even have a burner yet, because they don't completely trust burner technology. People want a media that writes, deletes, rewrites...so fourth. CDroms do that. We keep getting better quality CD due to the laser technology used. I am sure there will be a CD before this 'disk' comes out that will hold much more information than a DVDrom does. Here's a nifty fact. We have DVDrom available right now that hold 33.5 gb. JVC makes them.
            I forsee this technology getting up to at 150 gig in the next 3 years(all they gotta do is add layers, remember, and those are thin), and that definitly beats the launch date of this holo-drive. If you were a consumer, would you want a 150gb drive that was already supported by your pc, and was re-writeable or a 300gb drive that is not re-writeable and you had to install the actual hardware for it even to work...after paying out the ass?

            With DVD technology, they will simply add layers, making the disk hold more. I won't be surprised if there is a new CDrom that comes out which holds 50 gig per block, and they start to layer that. In any event, I think right now we are 'stuck with' CD technology and won't be going to a drive that looks like a Iomega Zip Disk which has been flattened like a pancake.
            Last edited by Ridirich; December 1, 2005, 08:46.
            -Ridirich

            "When you're called upon to do anything, and you're not ready to do it, then you've failed."

            Commander W.H. Hamilton

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            • #7
              shrinking technology

              Furthermore the drive is huge, did you see that pic?
              I believe that the technology will shrink, just as it has with floppies, CDs, DVDs, etc. I can distinctly remember 'Portable' CD player back in the day taking about 6 c cell batteries, and being about 2 and a half inches thick. Now we have drives in laptops that are barely big enough to hold the CDs and DVDs that they burn and play. They'll find a way to cram all that stuff into a 5.25" or perhaps even 3.5" bay, and then bring them to laptops, just as they have before.
              'If my mind was any further in the gutter, it'd be having a knife fight with a sewer rat.' -Me

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