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Researchers Create Cheap, Flexible, Plastic Flash Memory

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the cheap-plastic-now-cutting-edge dept.

Data Storage 82

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the University of Tokyo, led by electrical engineering professor Takao Someya, have created a new kind of low-cost, plastic, flash memory storage device. Although not as dense or stable as its silicon cousin, the plastic flash memory is useful because of its low cost, simple manufacturing process, and potential use in e-paper or other flexible devices. To demonstrate the memory, Someya's group integrated a 676-memory-cell device with a rubber pressure sensor. The flexible sensor-memory device, which is less than 700 micrometers thick, can record pressure patterns and retain them for up to a day."

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Secure content transfer (2, Interesting)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30405860)

This sounds like a good idea for transferring content securely. The contents of the memory will degrade in a short time, making it ideal for carrying sensitive data.

Re:Secure content transfer (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30405888)

This sounds like a good idea for transferring content securely. The contents of the memory will degrade in a short time, making it ideal for carrying sensitive data.

Meh, its very unlikely reliable. I'm sure there are better ways.
-Taylor

Re:Secure content transfer (4, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406484)

This sounds like a good idea for transferring content securely. The contents of the memory will degrade in a short time, making it ideal for carrying sensitive data.

There's a difference between unreliably storing data after a day, and reliably destroying all data after a day.

Re:Secure content transfer (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407776)

True, but combine it with a strong encryption and once a certain amount of data is gone the result become unrecoverable even if the actual password is something as simple as 123.

Re:Secure content transfer (2, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407970)

combine it with a strong encryption and once a certain amount of data is gone the result become unrecoverable even if the actual password is something as simple as 123.

The data degradation pattern is probably consistent for each particular device. So you'd just need to save the current data, then fill the device with various patterns and see how they degrade. If you find for example that particular bits degrade into set after a day, then you know which bits to try flipping in the original data. You reduce the number of possibilites greatly. So again, you need something that reliably destroys most of the data after some amount of time.

Re:Secure content transfer (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30409584)

The data degradation pattern is probably consistent for each particular device.

This is a pretty big assumption. Though the smallest feature size is pretty damn small, I would be more inclined to think the deterioration would at least resemble a normal distribution.

Re:Secure content transfer (1)

musicunderfire (1705840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30528728)

Sure its great as a cheap alternative, but I wouldn't doubt this is another case where quality is lost when the cheaper element wins over the stable, pricier one in the end.

Re:Secure content transfer (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406938)

I hope it goes over better than the DivX disposable DVD things.

Re:Secure content transfer (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408140)

This sounds like a good idea for transferring content securely. The contents of the memory will degrade in a short time, making it ideal for carrying sensitive data.

So, how is that different from the currently available floppy disks?

Re:Secure content transfer (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408716)

This sounds like a good idea for transferring content securely. The contents of the memory will degrade in a short time, making it ideal for carrying sensitive data.

Or you could encrypt the data and destroy the key when you don't need it anymore...

Re:Secure content transfer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30410538)

They weren't *that* bad, plus, these would probably be faster, larger (memory wise) and quieter. Now get off my lawn.

bendy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30405864)

Excellent, if this wasnt vaporware, we'd be that much closer to a roll up computer...which Im sure someone could justify over the normal old boring rigid type besides the neato factor

Re:bendy (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406928)

having a decent-sized keyboard on a portable device you can stuff in your backpack? i know it'd be great. no more lugging around huge laptop cases, a simple cylinder you can tuck somewhere will do.

Re:bendy (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407070)

They already make roll-up portable keyboards [thinkgeek.com] . And what does a roll-up keyboard have to do with flash memory?

Re:bendy (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415888)

good point.. although i like the screen to be a decent size too. a roll-up laptop would be awesome and i've been hoping for something like this for a while.

Cheap, Flexible, Plastic? (3, Funny)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30405870)

Sounds like the ethics of your typical politician.

Re:Cheap, Flexible, Plastic? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30421324)

Or what makes a great hooker? ^^

Some clarification needed from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30405896)

"Organic materials offer the capability to significantly lower the price of memory," because they can be processed much more cheaply than silicon, says Yang Yang, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved with the work. The demonstration of plastic flash "is a very important milestone in organic memory," says Yang.

The plastic memory was made by a team of researchers at the University of Tokyo led by electrical engineering professor Takao Someya. The key to making the plastic memory device work, says Someya, is a hybrid insulating layer made of a polymer and a metal oxide. This layer electrically isolates the metal gate in which charges are stored. An applied voltage causes the metal gates to accumulate charge--charged and uncharged gates represents binary 1s and 0s, as in silicon flash. The better the insulator works, the longer the data can be stored before the electrons leak away and the data degrades.

Story continues below

Someya's group starts by placing metal transistor gates on top of a plastic substrate. Then a thin layer of aluminum oxide is deposited on top and the plastic film is submerged in a solution containing an insulating polymer. The polymer finally self-assembles on the surface of the aluminum oxide. The plastic devices can endure 1,000 writing and reading cycles. In contrast, silicon flash can be written to about 100,000 times.

I might be missing something; which part of the process is done with organic materials. I see that it's not silicon based, but perhaps I am misunderstanding their usage of organic. Regardless to that fact, though, it's still pretty interesting stuff.

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (1)

mrisaacs (59875) | more than 4 years ago | (#30405980)

"Organic materials offer the capability to significantly lower the price of memory," because they can be processed much more cheaply than silicon, says Yang Yang, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved with the work. The demonstration of plastic flash "is a very important milestone in organic memory," says Yang.

The plastic memory was made by a team of researchers at the University of Tokyo led by electrical engineering professor Takao Someya. The key to making the plastic memory device work, says Someya, is a hybrid insulating layer made of a polymer and a metal oxide. This layer electrically isolates the metal gate in which charges are stored. An applied voltage causes the metal gates to accumulate charge--charged and uncharged gates represents binary 1s and 0s, as in silicon flash. The better the insulator works, the longer the data can be stored before the electrons leak away and the data degrades.

Story continues below

Someya's group starts by placing metal transistor gates on top of a plastic substrate. Then a thin layer of aluminum oxide is deposited on top and the plastic film is submerged in a solution containing an insulating polymer. The polymer finally self-assembles on the surface of the aluminum oxide. The plastic devices can endure 1,000 writing and reading cycles. In contrast, silicon flash can be written to about 100,000 times.

I might be missing something; which part of the process is done with organic materials. I see that it's not silicon based, but perhaps I am misunderstanding their usage of organic. Regardless to that fact, though, it's still pretty interesting stuff.

Plastic, which is a polymer, is usually made from oil - which is organic. Some plastic is made from vegetable matter, which is also organic.

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (0)

interploy (1387145) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406374)

I was wondering how long it'd take for someone to take the "green" trend and apply it to something not at all meant for the label. Oil is organic in the same way uranium is organic. Yes, technically they both come from the natural world, but they hardly match the renewable/healthy/eco-friendly definition that the term organic has come to mean today. If PR folks keep following this logic, we'll soon be seeing ads for 90% organic cars and other such nonsense.

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406440)

I think you are confusing organic food with the true meaning of organic, comes from life. Oil is organic as it is fossilized remains of things that lived many years ago. Last I checked Uranium is not organic. Think organic chemistry, not organic hippies.

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407106)

Buy after refining the raw petroleum, is it still organic then? Pretty sure you can't make plastic out of unprocessed crude oil.

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407272)

I think you are confusing organic food with the true meaning of organic, comes from life. Oil is organic as it is fossilized remains of things that lived many years ago. Last I checked Uranium is not organic. Think organic chemistry, not organic hippies.

Organic chemistry has nothing to do with life. It has to do with carbon compounds - which just so happen to appear in living things.

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406454)

Its a scientific term referring to the compounds used. Given the speaker, audience, and context it makes perfect sense. Not everything has to be co-opted by marketing bullshit.

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (1)

mrisaacs (59875) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406634)

I was wondering how long it'd take for someone to take the "green" trend and apply it to something not at all meant for the label. Oil is organic in the same way uranium is organic. Yes, technically they both come from the natural world, but they hardly match the renewable/healthy/eco-friendly definition that the term organic has come to mean today. If PR folks keep following this logic, we'll soon be seeing ads for 90% organic cars and other such nonsense.

Uranium is a metallic element, mined as a mineral - and not organic in any sense of the word.

Oil, or petroleum is decomposed plant and animal matter, organic sources and still organic in nature.
The subject of the chemistry of polymers and oil based substances (as well material sourced from anything that was once alive) is Organic Chemistry.

Organic in chemistry generally refers to anything that is or was alive. In other subjects, organic is used to describe things that are natural and not "manufactured".

The commercial term Organic - as used for produce, does not refer to the crops themselves, it refers to the method of growing them, which does not employ industrially derived fertilizers or pesticides, and using manure, etc as fertilizers.

In actuality the term is misleading, since most of the industrial fertilizers and pesticides are produced from organic sources, and minerals, which can be used to enrich organic crops, are inorganic substances.

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30460338)

"Organic Chemistry [wikipedia.org] is a discipline within chemistry that involves the scientific study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation (by synthesis or by other means) of hydrocarbons and their derivatives."

It doesn't have to have anything to do with life. For example, a chemist studying carbon compounds from an asteroid would be doing organic chemistry even if there is no life involved.

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30410350)

Oil is organic in the same way uranium is organic

wat

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406646)

Oh man, I got excited...for a second I thought you said "orgasmic."

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (2, Informative)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406272)

I think they refer to organic as in compounds containing carbon:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_compound [wikipedia.org]

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30409264)

I think they refer to organic as in compounds containing carbon:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_compound [wikipedia.org]

<pedant>CO2 is not organic.</pedant>

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (1)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463972)

D'oh! Make that "compounds containing carbon that are considered organic, and not compounds containing carbon that are considered inorganic"

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406598)

I might be missing something; which part of the process is done with organic materials.

Any of them dealing with materials that contain carbon.

Re:Some clarification needed from TFA (2, Informative)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407260)

I might be missing something; which part of the process is done with organic materials. I see that it's not silicon based, but perhaps I am misunderstanding their usage of organic. Regardless to that fact, though, it's still pretty interesting stuff.

In terms of chemistry, organic refers to stuff made from carbon.

Plastic is made from carbon.

Will e-book readers be... (2, Insightful)

runyonave (1482739) | more than 4 years ago | (#30405906)

the next virtual reality. What I mean is, back in the late 80s-90s, virtual reality was thought to be the technology of the future. Now they are out of date and instead somewhat replaced with augmented reality.

Now with e-book readers, will they get replaced with the e-paper medium. With this flexible memory card and other technology such as the printable circuit board, I can see e-book readers becoming out of date.

Re:Will e-book readers be... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406100)

They'll just get lighter and still only be as out of date as the material stored on them.

Re:Will e-book readers be... (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30409274)

Kindle sure sold a lot of models really fast... I don't think we can call ebook readers dead this early in the game.

The flexible fad...repeats itself... (3, Interesting)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406104)

Tell me that you haven't heard this before?

- Flexible displays
- Flexible PCB's
- Flexible Chips

Yes, they've been around since the 80's. But have they ever been used? No!

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (4, Funny)

MikeMacK (788889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406184)

Come on, try and be a little flexible on this...

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407256)

He hasn't been flexible since the 80s (overdosed on Richard Simmons I guess).

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30409288)

Combo breaker!

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (1)

Spykk (823586) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407804)

That joke was a little stiff...

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406240)

Yes, they've been around since the 80's. But have they ever been used? No!

Maybe THESE flexible materials aren't affected by hair spray, which was used so much in the '80s that it actually burned a hole in the atmosphere.

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406466)

Flexible Chips

This one time my Tostitos got wet.

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406560)

Flexible PCB's

Most certainly have been used. I remember taking apart a Polaroid camera when I was a kid, and finding a flexible light brown plastic circuit [unibas.ch] with chips soldered to it.

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (1)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407524)

I've seen them in mobile phones and LCD panels as well.

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (1)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407606)

Alright.

Mention ONE brand (with model number) where the PCB, or LCD panels actually where flexible (and no, I'm not mentioning the touchpad, dialpad or keyboard membranes!)

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30408662)

Your Hard Drives uses flex PCB in the head assembly for the amplifier as well as wiring harness. The PCB itself is also used as a spring. That's ANY brands and ANY sizes.

Old dot matrix print heads, laptop LCD signals, PC keyboard (with conductive ink), most of the LCD panels uses flex PCB as a high density flexible ribbon cable.

My old 300MB hard drive and the last PCB I designed uses a rigid + Flex PCB.

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (1)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407622)

Just because you can bend a PCB a few cm, doesn't mean that they're meant to be flexible.

When I refer to "flexible LCD & PCB" I'm talking about devices that are supposed to be bent in use, such as fold-out-displays or "wrap around electronics".

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30408150)

Printers, scanners, and hard drives all make great use of flexible PCBs for the head connector "cable" - which must flex constantly while in use. They are cheaper and more durable than ribbon cables, and can have SMT components directly soldered to them (usually in hard drives where a regular PCB would be too big and heavy to go on the head.)

for example see: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Hard_disk_platters_and_head.jpg

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408408)

One of the very common example is the laser assembly on almost any optical disc reader [die4laser.com] . This is easy to forget about, even though it most definitely uses a flexible PCB. It's not just for connection, either, because the PCB connects to the laser, often has the adjustment potentiometer soldered on, and connects to the optical pickup block and the focus coils.

Back of lens unit on Sony DSC camera [ifixit.com]

Odometer with large flexible PCB [garageprosoftware.com]

Video game controller [xim360.com] with flexi-PCB layer over rigid PCB, with plenty of SMT components.

The two main benefits of a flexible PCB that I can see: ability to fit into non-planar space, and ability to solder all components onto PCB, even though component leads don't terminate in a planar space.

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (1)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 4 years ago | (#30411358)

Granted, those are indeed flexible, god knows I've pulled a few lasers out of DVD-burners & Motors for robotics out of printers.

But it STILL isn't really a flexible PCB with Flexible Chips! It's more like a stiff flat-cable with components attached here and there.

I wasn't clear enough, my bad - so here:

A totally flexible PCB, with Flexible chips, so you can eg. wrap it around your wrist, again and again, without damaging it over time, this is very hard to manufacture, let alone a flexible OLED display.

Have you seen a e-ink screen lately that actually bends (not counting carefully watched prototypes)? I haven't.

Have you seen a hand held screen with flexible PCB and flexible screen, with flexible components, so you can bend it like a piece of transparent plastic paper? (The future predicted e-papers)... No? Me neither. This is what I meant, not flexible "pcb-cables" used in dvd-players, printers & whatnot.

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (1)

meza (414214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30411768)

Could you give an example or references to a flexible chip invented in the 80's? (which was your initial assumption). I'm honestly just very curious. Maybe then we can figure out why it's still being developed as the "next big thing".

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (1)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 4 years ago | (#30411888)

Yeah, I'm as curious as you on this area, hence why I call the "fad" card, as we've been filled with news on these stretchable, bendable chips for years, on science tv, documentaries, and whatever magazine you could read before Internet were for anyone.

There are (was / is) several ways to make chips flexible. The old 80's method was to keep the silicon chip itself ridgid while the the housing itself would be flexible - and the pcb itself of course, flexible resistors are a bit tricky since the resistance varies with the stretching - but this could be solved with wired resistors - flexing between the conductive/resisting wire itself, yet again - posing tear-wear issues.

Last year they came up with actual twistable sillicon chip - meaning that the actual IC-Core could be flexible as well:

http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/28/stretchy-silicon-circuits-wrap-around-complex-shapes-like-your/ [engadget.com]

If you look at the various OLED demos. of either e-paper or OLED displays that are flexible, they STILL pose the same tear and wear issues as silicon chips would have, they simply won't last (yet) - but strangely enough - this stuff pops up like it was fantastic news - every year, and unsurprisingly - very few actual products come out of it.

You tell me.

Re:The flexible fad...repeats itself... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416982)

OK, I see now, you're talking about the "wow look at this amazing tech!" rather than "inside these devices are flexible plastic circuits, but you'll never see them, or even guess they are in there" as the ones I linked to. Yes, you're talking of something where everything is basically printed on, such that it is as flexible as a plastic sheet with any other kind of printing.

Possible use: (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406252)

White House email archives.

Re:Possible use: (1)

Gerb (88657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406966)

Nah, not necessary anymore: Bush and Cheney are gone.

Re:Possible use: (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407162)

Cause Obama and Biden are so open and transparent. Right?

Re:Possible use: (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407860)

Attempting to parse Biden-speak is like trying to brute force 512-bit encryption.

Re:Possible use: (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 4 years ago | (#30410284)

Just the other day the gov't held a Closed meeting on openness. [yahoo.com] Now that's change I can believe in

A flexible friend (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406274)

Just think of the applications of plastic memory. Completely undetectable by the security scanners at airports, you can have your high security decryption key on you without having a USB key confiscated to see what is on it, possibly revealing your decryption key. One in the eye to the security nut-jobs who like to confiscate things to see what's on them under pretext of crime prevention / terror.

Re:A flexible friend (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406476)

"Someya's group starts by placing metal transistor gates on top of a plastic substrate. Then a thin layer of aluminum oxide is deposited on top and the plastic film is submerged in a solution containing an insulating polymer."

I think this might just show on a airport metal detector, but I could be wrong.

Re:A flexible friend (1)

pwfffff (1517213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407282)

It would probably show up just as much as, say, the reflective tape on your biking backpack. Which just happens to be taping down the memory chip.

Re:A flexible friend (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30426634)

Not a bad idea, or just wear it under your belt, then you could most likely make it through a metal detector with it on.

Re:A flexible friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30407494)

I wonder if I'm the only one who looked a TFS, read this comment subject, and thought 'blow up doll'.

Major let down, by the way...

Re:A flexible friend (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407740)

What? Silicon isn't detectable by security scanners, and a micro SD card is small enough to hide anywhere.

Another revolutionary cheap flexible thing. Yawn. (1)

SOdhner (1619761) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406408)

I keep hearing about awesome revolutionary inventions that are cheap, flexible, and tiny. Super efficient solar panels, screens, memory, everything.

And yet, somehow, years pass and I never see them actually used in consumer electronics.

Obviously that's not always the case. E-Ink is something I would have put into that category had it never materialized, for example. But in a general sense I just have trouble getting excited these days.

Re:Another revolutionary cheap flexible thing. Yaw (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406840)

I keep hearing about awesome revolutionary inventions that are cheap, flexible, and tiny. Super efficient solar panels, screens, memory, everything. And yet, somehow, years pass and I never see them actually used in consumer electronics.

You're just not paying attention. Think back 10 years, and try to figure out how big a device would have had to be in order to perform the same functions as, for example, an iPhone. It would be at least 5 times as thick. Would have cost an thousands of dollars, too. 20 years ago you would have needed a backpack to cart it around in. Technology progresses in small steps, so that you tend to miss it unless you're actually paying attention. It's not until you look at old photographs or videos that you realize how much has changed.

Re:Another revolutionary cheap flexible thing. Yaw (1)

SOdhner (1619761) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407676)

Technology progresses in small steps, so that you tend to miss it unless you're actually paying attention.

I'll agree that that factors into it, yeah - but I'm not talking about the speeding up and shrinking down of technology in general. It's hard to draw the line clearly, but there are inventions that bring an all-new aspect into it (often lately it's about being flexible and made out of pocket lint so that it costs nothing / can be printed out / is biodegradeable) and that's what doesn't show.

The gradual trend of things getting smaller and faster is a different story, and one I'm pretty pleased with.

Note to submitter (0)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406580)

"Flash" is the name of a specific technology that stores data in the charge accumulated on the gate of a MOSFET. The term you're looking for to describe what this invention is is "EEPROM", which is the category of devices of which Flash is the best known.

Basically, your comment makes you look stupid, like people who call photocopiers "xeroxes" or vacuum cleaners "hoovers".

Re:Note to submitter (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406614)

Try not to offend the guy, I'd hate to have to grab him a kleenex.

Re:Note to submitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30407128)

Try not to offend the guy, I'd hate to have to grab him a kleenex.

Don't worry, he's teflon. It bounces off him like a trampoline.

Re:Note to submitter (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406616)

Err.. OK, now I've RTFA it seams this _is_ flash memory. The summary is misleading in suggesting that pressure is used in the storage; the prototype was used with a pressure sensor to provide an example application.

Re:Note to submitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406740)

Made sense to me

Re:Note to submitter (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407266)

Your mistake has nothing to do with the summary and everything with you trying to feel superior by correcting people.

In other words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7zfnbdyAW8 [youtube.com]

Re:Note to submitter (1)

mrnobo1024 (464702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407884)

"EEPROM" is generally only used to refer to nonvolatile memories where individual bits can be erased. Flash memory has to be erased an entire block at a time (where a block is some size much larger than 1 bit).

Flexible polymer data storage != A new concept. (3, Interesting)

Skratchez (1304839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407000)

Sounds like it has a ways to go before it catches up with Silly Putty. It's been encoding newsprint for decades, and I believe it would definitely hold the content for more than a day. I hope Rupert Murdoch doesn't get wise to this "technology".

Modern day scribes? (1)

jbarr (2233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407112)

This could potentially solve both the unemployment problem AND the DRM problem.

Just scribes to write the articles, and the company doesn't have to worry about the reader passing along copies because after a day, they'll be unreadable!

Speed? Density? (1)

Ren Hoak (1217024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407360)

Cheap is nice. Short term memory -- too close to home for anyone over 40, but one day isn't bad. How fast is it to access, and how large is it relative to Si storage? Those may both be answered in TFA, but I'm too lazy to check. +1 Honesty?

If this is as fast as traditional large storage formats, and it doesn't take considerably more space, it could be interesting to see this applied to swap space or /tmp type storage... especially if the 1 day reliability can be extended through a refresh cycle.

Mystic writing pad (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407506)

From TFA:

Ethan Miller, professor of computer science at the University of California, Santa Cruz, says that plastic memory might be incorporated into e-paper. "Suppose you have a sheet with memory and a pressure sensor underneath it--you could write something and store the data, without a scanner," he says.

Yes, this is very cool. I owned the analog versions some years back:

http://elab.eserver.org/hfl0257.html [eserver.org]

And

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_paper [wikipedia.org]

Now, if you think I'm taking a cheap shot - I'm not. The magic tablet and carbon paper technologies were quite significant and did shape our communications - they both broadened the writing medium.

This, now, like the things above, possibly becoming cheap enough for ubiquitous use, could have the same effect.

So - this is one case where "neener neener neener, we had that before" isn't an inaccurate catcall - it's really to say, "neener neener neener, we had that before - and we told everyone we would need it again!"

I for one hope that this doesn't become more forgotten vaporware.

Cheap, plastic flash memory? (1)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30409020)

Sounds like the standard schwag at every tech conference...

Storage density? (1)

marciot (598356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30409914)

I'm sure this is a useful for some applications, but at 676 bits on that large piece of plastic, this thing probably does not even rival core memory in terms of storage density. They got a lot of shrinking to do before this thing can store even one MP3 file.

Tape Cassettes (1)

idji (984038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416334)

Remember those tape cassettes that went the way of the dinosaurs when CD burners got cheap. They were also plastic and metal oxides. Seems we are just coming back in circles and recycling technologies at the next level.
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