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3-D Memory May Revolutionize PC Data Storage

Roblimo posted more than 15 years ago | from the many-a-slip-twixt-the-lab-and-the-store-shelf dept.

News 89

Lots and lots of people have turned us on to this story and this follow-up in The Register about a "three-dimensional memory system" that is supposed to pack up to "2300GB into a PC Card-sized device" and may cost as little as $30 to manufacture. Sounds great, but it's apparently still in the pre-vaporware stage of development so don't throw away your hard drives quite yet.

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woo a useless post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754936)

a first post, wooo

Follow Up (1)

miracle69 (34841) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754937)

Rather amusing. And if you didn't read the follow up, you shall be admonished.

But those toilet-bowl brushes sure do sound cool. Can't wait to upgrade mine.

second post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754938)

second post.

MODERATORS: moderate this down! it's an order.

100GB on a watch (1)

cale (18062) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754939)

Wow, can't wait for that, hell, 2.3 TB (approx) of storage for $35 works for me. Oh, and I am REALLY waiting on the Intel Downstream processor. hehehhe, yeah, maybe they can get it out almost as quickly as they can ship merced...naaa, I'll stick with my alpha. BTW, for all you people who usually don't read the article, this and the followup are going to be ones you might want to check out.

The second article doesn't instill confidence (1)

coreman (8656) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754940)

Reads like an anti-gravity press release.

The biggest problem there is right now in this field is moving from 2 to 3 dimensions. If someone were to come up with a method of moving waste heat out of the substrate and made the technology stackable, densities wouldn't be as much of a problem. There is some interesting optical reading of magnetic effects going on in some of the labs these days which should improve access times but this usually means that the 3rd dimension is needed for the optics (like heads over media). One thing that I think was played around with was vertical positioning with edge bonding as well as double sided dies but that never went very far in the 80s when I was involved (I was a wirebonder in a previous life, now it's all automated)

Geek me baby! (1)

_Rumour_ (74414) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754941)

100 meg wristwatches?! Oh mama...

Think about those übergeeky Casio calculator thingies packin' a 100 megs (or was that migs? :D)

2.3 terra? (0)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754942)

Boy, I could put all the albulms in my house on that, all all my freinds music also! But looking at that size, i'm still working on filling up my 10 gig with programs and it's taking me a while! Oh wait, by the that W2k comes out, you'll problably need that much room!
I ate my tag line.

Questions questions... (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754943)

Of course going 3d is obvious, but they don't really
give enough details other than 'magneto-optical' -
what, 3 lasers and a field reading/writing bits in a
cube of stuff? Maybe the next 'bubble memory' device?
(anyone old enough to remember those?) I know a MO
disk you have to buffer and rewrite a whole track just
to alter one bit. Maybe a data access rate of 100Mbps
but it takes 3 minutes to write? Who knows....


Vaporware? (1)

CokeJunky (51666) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754944)

I mean this sounds too good to be true. And last time I checked, when something sounds like that, it has a good chance of being just that. On the other hand I have heard of rumors of 3D storage for some time...

The question is, when will we have watches that act as personal HD's... If your within 5 ft of the computer, say... it could be automounted over an RF channel... "Quake. Never leave home without it."

Re:Questions questions... (1)

coreman (8656) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754945)

And bubble you had to cycle through the entire buffer to replace a bit as well. As we use to say back then SSDD (same sh!t, different day). Still got a UV prom eraser too 8^)

cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754946)

--it sounds a little slow to me. Sure, its as fast as a good HD, but its a shame they can't push it into the memory speed range.. having a 100GB L2 cache would be an enormous performace boost. Oh well, I guess you can't have everything ;).

Not $30 it's 35 pounds (1)

mal3 (59208) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754947)

Not $30 it's 35 pounds(sorry i don't remember the ASCII code :-( )

Re:The second article doesn't instill confidence (1)

aallan (68633) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754948)

I work at the Physics Department at Keele University (the one mentioned in both press releases). We do have a Ted Williams working here, in the mechanical workshop. I think a certain postgrad in the Relativistic Quantum Mechanics group is having the rest of us on...

Tabloid alert (1)

Epeeist (2682) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754949)

Anything scientific in the "Mail on Sunday" should be taken with a large pinch of salt. It tends to be read by ladies (I use the word advisedly) with blue rinses and husbands named Geoffery. Said ladies usually have an abiding belief in the omniscience of Margaret Thatcher and the place of menials in the home.

Ohh, the register... (2)

bwz (13374) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754950)

Well, they have all the news - the problem is to know which of them are true... But they are certainly entertaining ;-)

Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?

Future News (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754951)

Wait till they invent storage devices that work in the 4th dimention (time)! Just think:
"Professor invents 4 dimentional storage device. Coming to stores 20 years ago!"

(looking for more storage space for all his prOn)

"Quantum" is key (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754952)

Well, it did mention some Quantum mechanics mumbo jumbo (I am definitely NOT able to understand Quantum mechanics), so it may not be limited by traditional data storage technology. Assuming the article to be somewhat accurate, this could explain the reason the technology is expected to be developed in the next few years. Course, it could also be a hoax/vaporware.

Re:Not $30 it's 35 pounds (1)

nstrug (1741) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754953)

You don't need an ASCII code - can't you just type £ ?

rightshift-alt-3 on a US keyboard (under Xfree86 anyway)


Brain for sale (1)

Lev_Arris (60782) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754954)

Yeah! Finally I can store all my knowledge into my PDA and have my brain surgically removed to create space for my experimental neural-interfaced GSM modem ;)

Re:Not $30 it's £35 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754955)

ALT-0-1-6-3 (on the numeric keypad) Hope that helps.

Obvious race... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754956)

Many companies are trying to break into the 3D memory first it seems. It's good to know in the next few years it will probably be an option with this many people claiming to already know how to do it.

BTW, its 35 _POUNDS_, which is about $50-60. But anyone that thinks they're going to buy 2.3 Terabytes for that much is insane. I'm sure they'll sell 1 GIG memory chips for that much, and all the way up to 2.3Terabytes for thousands and thousands of dollars. Of course, this all depends on if they are the first(and only) ones to develope it fully.

Would you pay $500 for a 6 GB memory chip? I sure would!

It ought to be just the thing to go with... (1)

alumshubby (5517) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754957) 256-bit 64-processor wearable -- the one that's integrated into my leather jacket, with the wireless 100 Tbps Internet connection and the little plastic tiara of electrodes for direct neural I/O. (paging William Gibson, white courtesy telephone, please...)

"'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wish'd."

Red Herring... (1)

Inspector (38755) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754958)

Looks a little like a Red Herring to me. Who was that guy who's invented 100 Gig harddrives that come in (badly retouched pictures of) pentium II cases? Doesn't want to reveal to much info until they have a patent, because you know, last time I checked, it was simple to whip up a new storage device from a few vague comments about physics ;)

Hey wait, I think I'll patent 3D storage devices right now!

Holographic Memory (1)

penguinicide (73759) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754959)

Well, they've had holographic memory out for a while now, but it has high seek times. The data throughput is impressive though. (page at a time read/write). The only commercial use I have heard of was fingerprint id machines. The potential for storage in a small space was great tho.

Technical details from one of the JV companies. (1)

bob_jordan (39836) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754960)


A Quantum Jump in Memory Storage and Access

Professor Ted Williams at Keele University, Staffordshire, England has developed a patented solid state memory system with the capacity of 86 Giga Bytes per square centimetre of surface area. The system uses a magneto-optical system not dissimilar to that of CD-ROM, except that the system is fixed, solid state, and has a different operating approach.

The system has applications for computer and processor memory for credit cards and smart cards, and for high security bank notes, among many other uses.

In computer memory format, the system has a capacity per sq cm in excess of 86 Giga Bytes of re-writeable RAM data - this equates to a memory capacity of 3400 Giga Bytes(3.4 Tb) within the surface area of a credit card! Data access time is around 100 Mb/sec. A single unit with this capacity, but using the computer's processor, has a physical size of about 3 cm x 3 cm x 1.5 cms (high). An additional advantage over existing data storage systems is that only 20% of gross capacity needs to be allocated for error correction, which is significantly less than the 40% for hard disks and 30% for optical storage. Production costs are anticipated to be less than £30 for such a unit.

Patents have been granted for parts of the system, and patent applications have been filed for other aspects.

The invention will have a major impact on the computer industry, giving even small palmtop computers the capacity of a mainframe! The effect on other industries will be equally significant - for example, televisions could have built-in solid state video recorders, wristwatches could have vastly more power than today's PC Computers. Implications for the security of financial instruments credit cards and bank notes - will be profound, as the high data-density substrate used can be put onto virtually every surface.

The 4th dimension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754961)

This 3rd dimension is old news.

35 pounds?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754962)

Thats a friggin heavy drive!

MRI Scanners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754963)

When did Professor Ted Williams lead the development of MRI scanners? MRI scanners where developed at Aberdeen/Nottingham, and I don't remember anyone going by this name. I smell a rat somewhere.

Almost sounds too good to be true :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754964)

If this article is true then the potential for it is enormous. But, then again, anyone remember cold fusion? :) Andy

Uh, that's my thesis... (1)

Inspector (38755) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754965)

well, replace 256-bit with 64, leather jacket with fabric mesh, 100Tbps with 100Mbps, and forget the direct neural I/O (I wish) and that's my thesis. I'm starting in september...mmmm, Beowulf cluster in my underwear, hee hee!

Re:It ought to be just the thing to go with... (1)

penguinicide (73759) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754966)

Great, you've got the end all computing platform and nothing to plug it into.

all dressed up and no place to go?

Sounds familiar (1)

Mart (19570) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754967)

This reminded me of our old friends the American Computer Company [] who have been known to make similarly ambitious announcements [] .

Maybe CMR and ACC should collaborate on reverse engineering alien sanitation technology. If they're thousands of years ahead of us, they must have worked out how to clean a toilet by now.

That time of year? (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754968)

Is it April 1st already?

Re:Tabloid alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754969)

Yeah but when their husbands are at work, those "ladies" can demonstrate some of the best developed vaginal musculature in the world!

Practical Applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754970)

So what would one speculate would be the practical applications of this new technology? I can see
movie rental places having tons of storage now, perhaps like shoe stores (you find the title,
and they slide out a little cube, your cube is due back Sunday by midnight, thank you). Shoot, for
all that, you can store movies at home, tons of them, in less space than your current video
collection. And instant-access, no loading tapes or DVDs or anything like that.

Guess you can see my priorities.
Just trying to start a conversation.

Bucky --
Forgetting slashdot passwords since 1999.

Re:Ohh, the register... (1)

Sarch (57717) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754971)

I take it The Register is the UK version of The Onion?


Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754972)

Haven't you people (/. writers) figured out yet that every Register article is pure crap? The Register is all about crackpot science with no basis in fact, a techno-tabloid. If you know the story is just a rumor or hoax, or is "pre-vapor", then why waste the time to post it.

Enough already with the Register articles.

toilets (1)

RoLlEr_CoAsTeR (39353) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754973)

Maybe CMR and ACC should collaborate on reverse engineering alien sanitation technology. If they're thousands of years ahead of us, they must have worked out how to clean a toilet by now.
Assuming that aliens _had_ toilets to clean.....

People still repost the Register's lies? (1)

riddley (6000) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754974)

C'mon guys. The Register is the Weekly World News of online journalism. Gimme a break already.

New tack on old idea (1)

Kreep (71627) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754975)

I do recall a small story about 5 years ago on a similar idea.

It sounds like it was a different approach, but some researchers had come up with an idea that could allow over a terabyte of storage on a 'translucent' cube using technology similar to CD ROMs. The data could be accessed by moving lasers to different angles and positions on the surface.

I'm guessing the research didn't pan out, because I haven't heard anything about it since then. But the principle of this story is the same as then: Packing data in three dimensions to allow much greater density.

I think speculation on price and/or specs is premature, since its possible existence is still in question. But I think this kind of technology is inevitable, somewhere down the road.

Holding my bets on Opticom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754976)

Posted earlier on Slashdot and long past
the supposed shippingdate Opticom has
similar plans using an active polymer
holding the data.

A Norwegan article 3/6 99 has some news
about a RAM prototype using only polymer
technology for both reading and storing
and handling frequencies up to 500 MHz.
The plan is to have a ROM of 1 GB by the
end of this year and a 1 GB RAM ready by
the end of year 2000.

Having left silicon, the plan is to be able
to put several layers of polymers on top of
each other and making the third dimension
and Terabytes of storage available at
creditcard sizes.

Being a knowledge company, they have no plans
to manufacture anything themselves, but hopefully
a commercial ROM suitable for the gaming industry
won't be too far away.
(Norwegian article, not very technichal though 1499199)

hahahha 100 Mbps (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754977)

Posted by Nr9:

heh 100 Mbps is pretty slow

Re:Ohh, the register... (1)

anthonyclark (17109) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754978)


They have real news too - Their Microsoft Vs DoJ trial coverage is (IMHO) unsurpassed.

Re:Ohh, the register... (1)

bwz (13374) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754979)

Oh, no - they (and a lot of others) see themselves as more-or-less serious. Much of the stuff on is true - the problem is that their philosophy seems to be "it's more important to have all the correct news than it is to have no incorrect news" and the result isn't hard to guess. All the signal is there - but so is most of the noise :-/

It's also good to remember that they have a good sense of humor too - else it would be utter rubbish (now it's fun but you have to take care not to believe everything)


Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?

...and MS Office will then require 2.3TB to load (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754980)

or is it that Win will need 2.3TB/CPU to boot..

Re:It ought to be just the thing to go with... (1)

alumshubby (5517) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754981)

Whoops, forgot that all-important power source. Did I fail to mention the combination of solar, biothermal, nano fuel cells, and mechanical generation from swinging my arms while I walk?

I guess we're getting off toward quantum nanocomputing, though, aren't we? Sorry for the tangent.

Come to think of it, wearing that leather jacket in South Carolina in August is gonna be murder...

Re:Ohh, the register... (1)

neuroid (6952) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754982)

Well...let me put it this way...

You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany.

omg! too true! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754983)

Isn't it obvious?! This is the direct application of alien technology that was recovered in the Roswell crash! OMFG! Just think of it! I bet the harddrives will even come with blueprints how to build your own ray gun and flying saucer! Wow, maybe we should lobby the military to release it RIGHT NOW, instead of playing with the cloaking devices they OBVIOUSLY used in Kosovo. *SIGH*

Get a grip! (1)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754984)

While you might not enjoy the "tabloid-esque" style, the articles are usually one or more of the following:

a) Technically accurate
b) Interesting (did you read the stuff about Fab 30?)
c) Entertaining
d) Prescient (lots of pre-release info)

And after all, you don't have to read any of it...

Re:Future News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754985)

Not to be overly serious, but the fourth dimension isn't necessarilly time. It could just be the curvature of three-dimensional space--or something. Anyway.

Get a grip! (1)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754986)

While you might not enjoy the "tabloid-esque" style, the articles are usually one or more of the following:

a) Technically accurate

b) Interesting (did you read the stuff about Fab 30?)

c) Entertaining

d) Prescient (lots of pre-release info)

And after all, you don't have to read any of it...

Which link is which? (1)

ariels (6608) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754987)

OK, so one of the two links is a joke. Now all I have to do is figure out which one...

Re:Future News (way off topic) (1)

drudd (43032) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754988)

Not to be overly overly serious, but dimensions don't have a particular order.

If I want to call time the first dimension, well there it is. X, Y, Z, and however many other dimensions we discover/invent will just have to wait their turn.

Oops. Posted in the wrong place (1)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754989)


Money conversion (1)

LrdZombie (70317) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754990)

£35 != $35
£35 > $35

that's why you always feel like you're getting screwed if you order albums from other countries. :) Still, whatever the conversion rate is (I'm gonna take a random guess and say 2.5 dollars per pound, and that's prolly way off), $87.50 is a small price to pay for that ninja, if it ever comes to exist.

It aint even vaporware yet (1)

jam-es (67944) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754991)

Let's make a bet...

I'll bet you that if you were to approach these developers (read: venture capitalists) with a request for a demonstration of a working prototype, they would begin shuffling their feet and coughing nervously only to tell you that it's "in the hands of our testing department" or not being demonstrated due to "patent concerns".

...but you notice how they are already looking for investors? me too.

I hate to be pessimistic (No, I don't...I lied) but it seems that there was this guy at one time who had a V-6 engine that ran on evian, and his scam sounded remarkably similar.

I just need to see that their concept is based on good science before i start saving my pennies.

And think about this: There is'nt a semiconductor firm in the known universe that would'nt be scrambling like little weasels to get their hands on a technology such as this...least they be put out of business. Suffice to say- I'm basing my judgement as to the validity of these claims on how those companies react. (And they ain't even twitching, people.)

By the way...what happened to that guy who had the engine that ran on water? He's not returning my calls.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754992)

No way, no how, not now. First of all, if they are talking about 3D storage, how come they keep refering to how much a cradit card surface will store? What about the size of the reading mechanism? Sure, the medium is small (Im sure if I scraped all the iron oxide off my 10Gb hard drive I would end up with something the size of a couple of pin heads.) but how is it read? And if they are applying for patents, then it should be possible to read about this, as anyone who wants to can review a pending patent application (to ensure they are not stealing MY ideas). BTW, whatever happened to those desktop recofigurable supercomputers /. wrote about earlier this year? We were supposed to have heard something about the production models rolling out midway-99!

Re:cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754993)

Ah, but you could stripe them or something. It would be interesting to know what the latency is.

£35 -> $56.21 U.S. (1)

zosima (8652) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754994)

For those intereseted. . . .I was really surprised the register had $35 in the article title with the quote being £35!

btw. . .my keycodes didn't work! I dunno, it would either bring up a Netscape composer (yes I am using communicator) with the 3 above the keyboard, or beep at me for the 3 on the keyboard. hrmph, thank goodness for cut & paste!

The RIAA, SPA, and BSA will no doubt oppose this. (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754995)

That kind of storage coupled with high speed internet access will hurt their feelings. Imagine having MP3s of all the music in your local Camelot and NRM in your pocket.


Looks like the story has gone... (1)

anthonyclark (17109) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754996)

As of 5:10pm here in England, the Register seems to have pulled the story.

Complete hoax then?

Re:Technical details from one of the JV companies. (1)

Acy James Stapp (1005) | more than 15 years ago | (#1754997)

Given my calculations, this gives a feature size of 0.012microns. Seems pretty iffy w/ current tech.

mp3, pr0n, beowolf, oh my! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754998)

more space for mp3's and p0rn! or maybe even p0rn mp3's!! and don't forget about **BEOWOLF**!!

Re:Holographic Memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1754999)

Wait a minute, you mean Holographic Memory has actually made it into production, even if it's only for limited uses? It's about time, I've been hearing about it since '89-90 time frame. Guess I'll have to see if I can hunt up additional information on it. Wonder what the lifespan of the media is compared to commonly used storage mediums.


Re:Vaporware? (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755000)

This one may be vaporware, but there are some labs with really impressive 3D memory constructions. Problem is, they tend to have silver pipes built into the chip to carry away the heat, and other such features. EXPENSIVE!

Well, that particular info is a few years old, but I suspect the principle holds up. You can't use liquid nitrogen, because the thermal stress cycling would quickly destroy your chips (maybe you could go with total immersion and a refer that automatically kept the LN at a good level?), etc. Not impossible, but too expensive to become common during the next 20 years.

Still, someday... room temperature superconductors of heat! That'd do the trick!

Re:Get a grip! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1755001)

Technically accurate? A technically accurate article on the Register is rare. Interesting? Not to me anyway. If it's not accurate, or total vapor, then why should it be interesting? Do you also find stories of alien abduction interesting? Entertaining? To each his own I guess. If you want entertainment not news, why not read science fiction instead. Prescient? Lots of pre-release info may be available, but don't you mind the fact that it's usually wrong? You're right, I don't have to read it.

Re:mp3, pr0n, beowolf, oh my! (1)

anthonyclark (17109) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755002)

more space for mp3's and p0rn! or maybe even p0rn mp3's!! and don't forget about **BEOWOLF**!!

No offense intended, but does anyone else think that comment sounded like a semi bad Anime translation ala Final fantasy 7?

This is not that new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1755003)

Universities are FULL of such ground breaking technologies that are nowhere near being practical. I used to work with a small company (started by prefessors at my university to take advantage of their wonderfull technology) that was working on some pretty cool 3D optical memory. Fast, high density, good. The trouble was, they moved like frozen molasses. It really was some sort of parallel universe that ran in academic time. If any of you have worked in a research lab before, you know what I'm talking about. Anyway, enough digression. At best this is a neat idea that has years to go before being practical. At worst, it's like that 90 GB hard drive that is the size of a quarter or something that was on here a while ago. "We don't know where the technology came from!" Yeah, that's a choice load. I sospect it's the former and not the latter, but there really are LOTS of people doing work on interesting memory technologies that are not usefull yet. Just my $0.97 Matt

Or perhaps it's seagate mechanics.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1755004)

bud-um bum... anyway, I doubt it *needs* quantum mechanics, a quark drive would indeed be a long ways away..

Even the flattest things have thickness or 4D RAM! (1)

DrMaurer (64120) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755005)

First of all, if they are talking about 3D storage, how come they keep refering to how much a cradit card surface will store?
Pull out your credit card, if you have one. And if you don't, look at mommies. First take a look at the thing, wow, pretty small, right? Now, turn it on it's side, no, better yet, lay it down. Good. Notice how it sticks up off the surface of whatever you put it on. That's thickness. Now, stack 2 (if you can get them from daddy too) of them . . . still pretty thin, right? Keep going . . . oh, and file those bumpy names off of the cards while your at it . . . that will give you a more accurate representation.
Learn something every day, don't ya?
I'm still waiting for the 4D ram, or true 3D TV . . .

Re:Future News (1)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755006)

It's funny you should mention that... I remember an old (article/paper/written thingy) from DEC explaining the arrangement of data on a hard disk. IIRC, it said "...simply imagine the disk as a four-dimensional hypercube...cylinders, heads, sectors, tracks..."

Re:Future News (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755007)

Haha! Leave it up to a tech paper to suggest picturing something in 4 dimensions simplifies one's understanding of it. ;)

Holographic Storage (1)

uradu (10768) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755008)

Seems someone stumbled upon some research into "holographic storage", read a couple of lines, and made a product announcement.

That technology is far from new. It's been around for over ten years, and anybody on /. shouldn't even raise a brow. Currently--as for the last ten years--it's still at the research stage. The storage media are all kinds of exocic pure crystals. Data is stored in parallel focal planes, one bitmp of "pixels" at a time, by polarizing the crystal molecules. One "page" of data is written to an LCD display in the form of a bitmap, which is then projected into the crystal and focused onto a particular plane with optics. Readout occurs by doing the reverse: projecting one plane onto a CCD and reading off the individual pixels. The operation is inherently parallel, so depending on the size of each bitmap, you can be reading a whole lot of data at once. Essentially, the technology is similar to MO disks, but in 3D and in parallel.

Currently the biggest holdback still seems to be the limited writing cycles these crystals can survive. Last time I read up, it was something like 1000 cycles, maybe they improved it an order of magnitude. Also, many researchers seemed to be targeting it not only as persistent storage, but as RAM replacement. Done right, it can offer access speeds many times above silicon RAM. Also, it offers the possilibity of purely optical parallel searches: the query data is written to the LCD, then projected into the crystal. Through interference patterns with matching data in the crystal, planes containing matches are found instantly without sequential searching. I only skimmed the theory on that one, so don't quote me on details.

Anyway, all this theory comes from people who don't also claim improved toilet brushes. I don't know about the guys at Keele, but this stuff is for real. When it'll crop up at Wal-Mart is another question.

It's going to be a while... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1755009)

There was an interesting article in the March 1995 issue of Scientific American regarding similar 3D memory (but protein-based). The article predicted it would come to market in two to three years, and I haven't heard anything about it since.

There's some articles on protein memory at [] .

Re:That time of year? (2)

jd (1658) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755010)

If they'd done it on April 1st, everyone'd have guessed!

Re:35 pounds?!?!? (1)

theonetruekeebler (60888) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755011)

Well, the article did say this was the densest storage ever...


Re:Get a grip! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1755012)

I find stories of alien abduction interesting. As you may have guessed the word "interesting" doesn't always mean "accurate". In either case everyone's interested in something else, so just shut the fuck up if you don't like something.

Re:Brain for sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1755013)

No offence but I would tend to agree that all your knowledge would fit in 100Mb wrist-watches (100m waterproof)

Re:Future News (way off topic) DOH (1)

be-fan (61476) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755014)

what do you do after x,y,and z, go back to a?
man's lack of foresight yet another problem.

If it's real, grab your BEOS stock now. (1)

William Wallace (18863) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755015)

After all, not too many other OS's can handle
humongous drive and file sizes like BeOS. What's
the max file size on BeOS again? Something like
16 petabytes or something?


Why are there so many Unix-using Star Trek fans?
When was the last time Picard said, "Computer, bring

Re:Not $30 it's 35 pounds (1)

Spazmoid (75087) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755016)

iTs funny all the things you can do with ASCII...




Re:New tack on old idea (1)

Bloater (12932) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755017)

I saw something on TV recently (can't remember where), using an organic compound in a cuboid shape, and when you shine light of a particular wavelength and strength it's inter molecular bonding breaks. Apply an electric field and you rotate the molecule. I saw footage of an (approx.) 1cm X 1cm x 3cm cuboid attached to a PC expansion card.

Using 2 low-power lasers they can choose a cluster of molucules.

However, I'm not certain of the reliability of the report (I don't remember which TV station).


Re:Future News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1755018)

yes, its called quontim phyics. Please note: I SUCK at spelling. The download ( file transfer ) is SOOOO quick, it gets there _before_ you need it. The whole theroy kinda screaws with your head!

Re:2.3 terra? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1755019)

why would you want use w2k ???

Re:Holographic Storage (1)

radja (58949) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755020)

hmm.. all reminds me a little about tesa ROM. they found a way to store data on tesa adhesive tape, theoretically up to about 10 Gb on a single roll of average, every day adhesive tape. and to think that the guy just put in the tape as a joke, because they couldn't find anything that worked. Tesa has confirmed this research, I happened to ask for it only 5 days ago. if anyone wants, I can post the press statement, or you can ask Tesa for it.

Can anybody tell me .... (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755021)

Is this so-called 3D image storage device the same one the Industry Week Magazine mentioned several years ago?

It is something about a quartz-like device, and the storing/retriving of data is through laser, and the data supposed to be stored in holographic images, something like that.

If this 3D image storage thingy is the quart-zlike device, then it is certain _NOT_ a pre-vaporware thing.

Industry Week magazine carried a short intro-article several years ago (sometime pre-1996!!!) and the thing may have been going through several years of development already.

Re:2.3 terra? (1)

Omar Djabji (33756) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755022)

Why not? He's got the room.

Re:Not $30 it's 35 pounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1755023)

The Key here, is 35 pounds/dollors whatever, to MAKE. It only costs about a penny to MAKE your CD's, but you still pay $10-$15+ for em.... (1$-5$ for cd-r's) Regardless, what it costs to make, means very little as to how much you would actually be charged. (more like $350-$3500)

Safe Storage (1)

SlayFire (77977) | more than 15 years ago | (#1755024)

I dont know, but can we be assured that the data storage is even safe? If it gets gittered a little, will valuable data be lost?

If something that small can hold that much data, wouldnt it make it very easy to corrupt data?

My .02 cents.


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