GE boosts micro-holo storage to Blu-ray speed
500GB recordable compact disc as step closer
Boffins at GE have come up with a material that might one day be used to record 20 Blu-rays' worth of data on a single disc at the same speed that data is recorded on BD-Rs today.
The announcement comes from GE's Holographic Data Storage project, which has been working on the techniques and technologies need to realise über-high capacity optical media for the best part of the last ten years.
GE's work centres on what it calls micro-holographic recording: storing data on compact discs rather than the bulk media used in today's commercial holographic recorders.
The latest breakthrough concerns speed. Having come up in April 2009 with materials that would allow a regular-sized disc to hold 500GB of data, optically encoded as three-dimensional interference patterns recorded in the full width of the disc, the GE team have now demonstrated one such substance onto which that pattern can be stamped quickly.
GE didn't say how fast the unnamed, "proprietary" material will record data, but BD-R 1x takes 95 minutes to store 25GB, falling to eight minutes in 12x drive.
Even at the higher speed, recording 500GB at the same rate will take 160 minutes - but could take nearly 32 hours at 1x rates.
Getting the system running at practical recording speeds is key to commercialising micro-holographic storage. ®
I've been following BD media in hopes of using it to backup my personal videos and photos. Sadly it seems that writable BD disks are not better than DVDs or CDs in terms of long term storage - some people have had them go bad in as little as a few months.
Nice by useless
We're all thinking that maybe we can return to making reliable backups on cheap media, sadly I can imagine by the time this gets to market, if ever, the average home machine will be stuffed with 10TB sized drives and off we go around the merry-go-round again. Of course this assumes we're not all mind-warped by aliens and decide to upload all our stuff into somebody's "cloud"!
Reminds me of something we had in Germany
Back in the 1960s-1970s, when video tape recorders were still considered to be to expensive and to hard to be used by laypeople, some German companies introduced the next thing to be. It was called "Bildplatte" (image record), and essentially a record spinning a lot faster with a lot finer groove, so you could store information on and scan it mechanically, just like a record player.
Just like GE, they used dead-end technology to solve a problem already solved by other technologies.
GE should have considered solving the existing problems of DVDs, like the problem that they aren't long term stable. A single layer DVD which lasts a lifetime and can be read by standard DVD-drives is far more useful than some specialized 500 gigabyte disk system where the disk probably costs more than a whole harddrive of the same size.
About time something came along
It's been a while since optical media was actually a fairly cost-efficient way to archive data. Currently, your bang-for-buck ratio peaks nicely at a 2TB HD.
Of course, when these fancy holo spinny things come to market, each one will cost £50. The same price as a 3TB HD, no doubt.
I remember some CD-R writers...
having 2 or 3 set of lenses with independent driver heads, so each set would read 1/2 or 1/3 of the drive. Claimed recording speed for CDs: 100x.
(That would be like a HDD having two needles assembled back-to-back.)
I just fail to remember the name of the company that did it.