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Microholography Could Lead to 500 GB Discs

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the what-a-great-word dept.

Media 158

angrykeyboarder writes "Scientists have discovered a way to fit 500 GB of data onto DVD-sized discs. These discs would be created with a process called 'microholography, which combines multilayer storage of data with holographic imagery. From the article: 'Microholography allows data to be stored in three dimensions. The technology works by replacing the two-dimensional pit-land structures currently found on CDs and DVDs with microgratings, which are holographically induced using two laser beams. In other words, instead of recording to a series of bumps and pits like standard CDs, the new technology creates three-dimensional holographic grids that can be used for reading and writing data throughout the physical structure of the disc.'"

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What do you suppose would happen... (5, Funny)

HydroPhonic (524513) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787495)

... if you scratch one of these? :-

Re:What do you suppose would happen... (1)

Plasmagrid (322106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787501)

you would thing that with the technology of Glasses with scratch resistant coatings they would add that to this CD/DVD type

Re:What do you suppose would happen... (2, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790879)

you would thing that with the technology of Glasses with scratch resistant coatings they would add that to this CD/DVD type

Not that the scratch resistant coating on my glasses help that much... most minor scratches on media doesnt affect it's readability (unless it is on the top/label surface). Major scratches on the bottom that affect media readability wont be prevented with the anti-scratch technology used on glasses.

The better idea would be a better coating on the label side, or like on some old CDs, a second layer over the media substrate layer. I still have some old CDs that had a second plastic layer - thus embedding the actual media layer between two plastic layers and protecting the media from the types of scratches that are the primary cause of data loss. You cant seem to buy disks like that anymore... oh well...

Re:What do you suppose would happen... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19787537)

Then your data is fucked. Nuff said.

You should always backup your "backup".

Re:What do you suppose would happen... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19787695)

... if you scratch one of these? :-


Or even worse, destroy the whole disc? Oh my god. I believe you just discovered a major draw back of new technology. We shouldn't research any improvements in areal density as it's all a waste of time as someone somewhere might SCRATCH the friggin' thing and then HydroPhonic, the master of obvious, would lose his porn.

Re:What do you suppose would happen... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19787923)

improvements in areal density

Did you mean: improvements in aereole density [flickr.com]

captcha: chubbier

Easy backups (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788219)

If you scratch one of these you lose 500GB of data, just as with any other 500GB disk. But the fact that you can record 500GB in a CD-like disk means that you can make several copies and store them in separate places.


Not very easy to scratch all the disks at the same time if one is in your office, another in your car and the other at your cousin's place.

Re:What do you suppose would happen... (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788473)

The universe will implode.

You lose your data. What did you expect? :)

Re:What do you suppose would happen... (4, Interesting)

Feanturi (99866) | more than 7 years ago | (#19789911)

I don't know if I need a single DVD-sized disc to store 500GB of data. What I think would be cooler is if that space was made redundant and strewn all over the disc, so I could store maybe 100GB or so (still way lots) and have the peace of mind of knowing that an accidental scratch isn't likely to lose me anything.

Re:What do you suppose would happen... (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790391)

Mod parent very interesting. That's an excellent idea.

Re:What do you suppose would happen... (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790019)

With 500 GB of data on a single package one could use a whole lot more space for data-correction, data-redundancy and so on. So, if you scratch it really bad, then you have a problem. otherwise, it may read a little bit slower and warn you of data errors. ;-)

But 500 GB does not look like much. Unless the disc is really cheap, I would prefer the data stored in a disk array of 1 TB hard-drives.

Not again. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19787507)

Please no. Can someone tell them to stop working on CDs already? Seriously, HD-DVD is no more than a smaller vinyl. We've got the same technology for over 100 years and they're still trying to "improve" it?
Can someone already remove all the moving (spinning) parts of my laptop? I really do not see the point of including 3 different motors in a XXI century technology.

Good point (5, Insightful)

Uruz 7 (986742) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787681)

He has a good point. The tech seems cool and all especially for long term storage but solid state is the real future. Battery life is still pretty poor for most devices and many people are moving away from the desktop. I personally don't own a desktop anymore and just hook my laptop up to a keyboard, monitor, and mouse when at home or work. I foresee the desktop dying except for hardcore gamers and servers. If I'm correct then spinning media doesn't make sense. Motors drain battery life and increase latency while throwing in a mechanical cog that can fail.

Re:Good point (2, Insightful)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787831)

If I'm correct then spinning media doesn't make sense. Motors drain battery life and increase latency while throwing in a mechanical cog that can fail.

On the other hand, you get 500Gb on one disc. So it makes a bit of sense.

Re:Good point (1)

pedro-kun (1053792) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788207)

But as already said by someone else, you'd be better off with state-of-the-art thumbdrives, which will probably be 500GB in size or even more... And there's always that scratchy fear about it :p

Re:Good point (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19789035)

I don't see solid state meeting or beating mechanical drives in price/performance for quite some time. For many circumstances, flash speed and capacity is good enough, but it's still way too expensive for most people. The latest flash drives didn't really beat the speed or capacity of 2.5" drives, though they beat the 1.8" drives. Still, $500 for a 32GB SSD isn't something I'm interested in.

Re:Good point (2, Interesting)

bdjacobson (1094909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790351)

He has a good point. The tech seems cool and all especially for long term storage but solid state is the real future. Battery life is still pretty poor for most devices and many people are moving away from the desktop.

I personally don't own a desktop anymore and just hook my laptop up to a keyboard, monitor, and mouse when at home or work. I foresee the desktop dying except for hardcore gamers and servers. If I'm correct then spinning media doesn't make sense. Motors drain battery life and increase latency while throwing in a mechanical cog that can fail.
-Portable CD players can last 30 hours on just two batteries. The motors aren't a big deal.
-My Discman 2 from 10 years ago is still spinning and reading discs prefectly despite numerous drops on pavement.
-As usual, minor latency isn't a big deal when we're talking about data backup. If this takes the place of the DVD, then it will not become your next harddrive that you install anything on. It would just take the place of the DVD and be a backup solution. When was the last time you got frustrated at a DVD's access times? Or when was the last time a DVD drive failed on you? Neither of these has happened for me. So I welcome any major improvement to the DVD-- I want to get rid of that 100-disc spindle full of data DVD's, and everyone keeps claiming to have a solution but nobody has actually brought one to market.

Re:Not again. (5, Insightful)

UCSCTek (806902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787689)

The fact that moving parts reduce cost by exploiting symmetry is hard to beat. Either you have one/several reader/writer that can move around to access the bits => cheaper, or you hardwire billions into the storage media => more stable.

Re:Not again. (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788363)

Or, instead of putting the substrate onto a disk, you put it in a cube (or sphere, etc) and use a couple of DLPs to aim the laser anywhere inside the volume. With the rate at which DLPs are dropping in price, this should be fairly cheap in a few years.

On the other hand, at the rate available bandwidth is increasing, there is a much smaller need for portability. With a 4G mobile data network you may as well leave most of your data in a RAID array (where 'D' stands for whatever the densest cheap storage mechanism is) and stream what you need, with a few GBs of local cache. Latency is still going to be a problem, but WAN latency is still lower than optical disk latency in a lot of cases.

Re:Not again. (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787753)

I agree.

At the current rate of capacity increases / price drops, I bet flash drives will overtake CD/DVD technology. By the time this tech comes to market, I'll be able to buy 500G USB thumb drives that are 100 times faster than today's thumb drives, and cost about $10.

Re:Not again. (5, Funny)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788523)

They won't be happy until you lose a Library Of Congress in one scratch.

Re:Not again. (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788607)

Harsh but god, so true! so true.

Re:Not again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19790985)

Harsh but god, so true! so true.

Worst. Punctuation. Ever.

Re:Not again. (3, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19789103)

"Seriously, ICs are is no more than a smaller transistor. We've got the same technology for over 60 years and they're still trying to "improve" it?"

Anyways, then don't buy the product. There are notebooks that do not include a built-in optical drive. If you truly believed in a non-motor computer, you can probably get a SSD -based Toshiba ultraportable right now. The problem is that with demanding no motors, you can't expect a fast CPU or graphics processor because that would require a fan to cool them, which is another motor. So that leaves you with a 1.3GHz notebook with 32GB of "hard drive", for over $2000. At least it would look pretty cool and be very light. I think there are Panasonics without motors too.

Research-wise, it's probably not your money to spend. No one can predict what technology will prevail, and the good idea is for different groups to invest in what they are good at, and the market decides what is most desirable for what task. The optical drive will still be mainstream for a while yet, and after that, possibly remain a viable niche for much longer.

Re:Not again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19789111)

I totally agree, we don't need 3 motors in current laptops... we need one, and an elaborete belt drive system.

On a side note, haven't we been making internal combustion engines for over 100 years? Aren't we still making progress on that front? ...Can't you buy internal combution engines that only feature one motor and have a belt drive to get the other parts (back wheel) to spin? ;)

Re:Not again. (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790997)

I really do not see the point of including 3 different motors in a XXI century technology.

So if they'd started the calendar 20 years later you'd be ok with it?

I miss minidisc (4, Insightful)

misanthrope101 (253915) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787539)

I wish this type of tech would develop into something in the form factor of the minidisc. I still have my music mindiscs, some of them about 10 years old. There's something about that size, the protective case, and even the colors that makes the form factor interesting. I'd love to be able to have a ~300GB Truecrypt container on a rewritable minidisc-type thing.

I've always found DVDs/CDs too large. Yes, they make mini-cdrs and mini-dvds (I used to have a Sony CD Mavica) but they don't have the protective case the minidiscs had. Some things are just ergonomically right, and I regret that we didn't go a little further in that direction.

Re:I miss minidisc (4, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787599)

I blows me away how Sony missed out on the opportunity to use the MD format for data storage. It could have been the perfect 3 1/2 floppy drive replacement. How aggravating that they wasted the chance!

Re:I miss minidisc (1)

Uruz 7 (986742) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787721)

Not really. Of course diskettes sucked but they did something that CDs still really aren't good for and that's sneaker net. Diskettes sucked because they would fail often but people really didn't archive data on them. They were used to distribute software or copy a file to a machine that had a printer in non-networked environments in which case they were just fine. Thumb drives are really the new microfloppy and floppy. They have a pension for failing but you'd be pretty dumb to use it as you're only backup medium.

Re:I miss minidisc (4, Informative)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787837)

They have a pension for failing but you'd be pretty dumb to use it as you're only backup medium.

Penchant.

(I'm willing to let the apostrophe error slide.)

</pedant>

Re:I miss minidisc (1)

Uruz 7 (986742) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788291)

Grrr. I'll blame it on lack of sleep :)

Re:I miss minidisc (3, Funny)

thinkertdm (1125275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787847)

I really miss the 8 inch floppies. Don't see why they waste time trying to improve things that spin.

Re:I miss minidisc (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19788329)

The MD failed for the same reason the Iomega Zip and similar devices did: companies want to profit in every possible way from their inventions to the point that their patents prevent others from doing anything useful with the technology. This reduces the market until the technology dies and nobody can revive it due to those patents.
I have no data handy about it, but I'm pretty sure the same practice was not applied to hard disks and floppies, otherwise we'd be still saving data to punchcards.

They DID make data-MD (3, Informative)

Harald Paulsen (621759) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788355)

I had a MDH-10, an external scsi-device using 140MB per disc. For more information, see http://www.minidisc.org/md_data_table.html [minidisc.org] They even had digital cameras use discs! Unfortunately, sony has a bad track record in coming up with their own formats and formfactors.

Re:I miss minidisc (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788391)

I couldn't agree more. The original MD-Data at 140MB per disk was bigger than my laptop drive at the time (60MB). The later revisions, at 650MB and 1GB, are still a nice form factor. If Sony had gone the CD-ROM route of charging a small royalty on each disk and drive, and letting other people manufacture both, then I doubt I'd be using CDs for music today. Three things really killed the format:
  • The drives were expensive, and were never included in laptop (where they would have been ideal for backup and data transfer).
  • They charged a premium for 'data' disks, even though the music disks also stored digital data, and were identical in every way except for a flag allowing the MD-Data drive to use them.
  • They didn't allow the drive to read or write music. CD-ROM drives could play your music through your PC speakers, MD-Data drives couldn't.
The number of Sony products that have failed due to bad management make me wonder if anyone actually owns Sony shares. If I'd owned any in the '80s or '90s I'd have been calling loudly for the board to replace the management.

Could be the next minidisc (2, Insightful)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788395)

I blows me away how Sony missed out on the opportunity to use the MD format for data storage. It could have been the perfect 3 1/2 floppy drive replacement. How aggravating that they wasted the chance!

500GB is a LOT of data. Great for backups, perhaps for storing raw video footage and so on, but hard to justify for distributing data or for sneakernet uses.

A minidisc equivalent would be what, 100GB or so? That is a very viable proposition. Credit card sized discs would be quite popular too. Solid state equivalence is a long way off.

Re:I miss minidisc (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788985)

Data on minidisc was available, it just didn't take off. I've seen a Sony computer with a minidisc drive. It certainly would have been better than allowing Zip drives to take off, and I think it predated Zip.

Re:I miss minidisc (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790065)

Actually, the first minidisc drive I saw was a friend's early clunky portable, which had a SCSI interface.
I don't know why the hell that never was used more, as you then had a format more convenient than ZIP,
with slightly more storage, and the bonus of being easy to use for music. But MP3 players have thoroughly killed
the market for portable entertainment, and if you're taping a concert..get an Edirol. Still, that's 12 years ago,
during which MD could have been greater.

Re:I miss minidisc (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788303)

Yep. I agree. A reader/writer unit for the minidisc isn't all that expensive to adapt to a PC. The size of the media is perfect to put in a pocket. Its already in protective case. And it seems to last a really long time. The amount of time I've spent playing some of the MDs, my CDs or DVDs would likely have a scratch on by now. I really wish selling MDs instead of CDs had caught on in NA as it has, i hear, in Japan.

Do we really have to take spinning optical discs to new levels? I think industry should concentrate on Flash or getting HDs super reliable so we can just buy a few extra HDs and backup all the information on it with some level of confidence. I hate backing up stuff on shiny, scratchable CDs or DVDs. I find Flash is much more reliable, but the drives/cards are so small they're easy to lose.

Re:I miss minidisc (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19789811)

There's something about that size, the protective case, and even the colors that makes the form factor interesting. I'd love to be able to have a ~300GB Truecrypt container on a rewritable minidisc-type thing.

Very true, the size and protective caddy made minidiscs unbelievably easy to handle, and extremely reliable, completely unlike CDs.

But minidiscs have other advantages people don't seem to realize. Sony based minidiscs on their professional magneto optical technology, the MO discs corporations pay vast sums of money for use the same tech as your $1 recordable minidisc. That's why they were able to claim 1 million erase/rewrite cycles, compared to perhaps 1,000 for CD-RWs if you're really lucky. That's also why the portable recorder units could record, reliably, even with repeated shocks, such as running. Not only could MDs have replaced floppies, they could well have replaced compact flash, and could have been used as hard drives in small portable computers and MP3 players. At a time when unreliable 1X CD-R Drive were selling for $1,000, Standalone MD recorders were $100, and the MD devices back then were far more reliable than even CD/DVD Burners are today.

(Besides licensing) The one big problem with it was that Sony made audio MDs and data MDs different, so that you couldn't use one for the other. So while audio MDs were $2 for 140MBs back when CD-Burners were a pipe dream and 100MB Zip disks were $20+, unfortunately you had to use the $20, hard to find "data" MDs in your ridiculously over-priced SCSI MD drive... That prevented nearly anyone from buying-in to MDs for data storage, and the lowering prices of CD burners doomed them.

Re:I miss minidisc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19790397)

Yes, they make mini-cdrs and mini-dvds (I used to have a Sony CD Mavica) but they don't have the protective case the minidiscs had.

The mini-CDs do have protective cases [burnsmart.com] . Basically, it's a mini-jewel case. In the mini-jewel Case the Mini-CD (210 megs) and Mini-DVD (1.4 gigs) is the same size as a floppy. My experience with keeping one of these in my pocket is that the case (20 cents or so) gets scratched up more quickly than the mini-CD (50 cents or so) or DVD (1 dollar or so) inside.

If something the size of a floppy is to big, the CDs are available in a a size that nicely fits in a wallet [burnsmart.com] --a hack that is not possible with mini disc technology. The Business card CDs (or "CD cards") will crack if one is not careful with how it is kept in one's wallet. The secret is to put the business card CD in a vinyl sleeve, then put it between two thick plastic cards. The metrobus system in Mexico City, for example, uses a thick RFID card to pay the faire that is great for protecting CD cards in my wallet.

The main advantage the MiniDisc had is that it could handle far more re-write cycles than any CD/DVD technology. This allowed it to be a convenient technology for dragging and dropping files or saving documents on a public computer without hacks like UDF. Then again, the expensive flash-based storage devices are nicely filling that niche. Now, if we could get flash storage down to optical media prices (there was a time when a CD-R blank cost $30), things would be very nice.

Re:I miss minidisc (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790571)

I still have my music mindiscs, some of them about 10 years old. There's something about that size, the protective case, and even the colors that makes the form factor interesting. I'd love to be able to have a ~300GB Truecrypt container on a rewritable minidisc-type thing.

It seems that protective cases do not make a storge medium very popular. Any CD drive that used caddies and DVD-RAM both flopped (for some reason some DVD drives still support DVD-RAM though, probably since some video cameras still use them). Although I agree the size of the minidisc is nice (we have the mini CDs too but they don't hold as much as normal CDs and not even close to a DVD of course) the protective case would somehow doom it to fail considering the track record of such a feature with optical media. Maybe using a caddy is just a jinx on the medium or maybe DVD-RAM didn't do so well because it did packet-writing which I've never felt was useful. I know when I'd format a CD for packet writing I'd lose a good bit of the capacity just like formatting a hard drive makes you lose capacity because of file system overhead. I never liked that.

Yes please, make the new DVD formats obsolete. (1)

Flipao (903929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787559)

I don't really like either of them :/

Re:Yes please, make the new DVD formats obsolete. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19787843)

This is something the "scientists" have clearly not realised. For a new media format to be successful it must be packed full of DRM. Why are they working on increasing storage capacity or access speed, and not disk size? Do they not realise that there are people out there who copy disks and that they are undermining our very society?

Long live DRM!

Plus (2, Funny)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787587)

Once your bored of them you can use them as a holodeck in your ant farm :)

Re:Plus (1)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787639)

you're you're you're you're you're you're

Sorry.

Wait and see (1)

Fuzzymaggot (1123229) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787591)

As good as this sounds, I would rather wait and see. They claim the CDs will be inexpensive to produce, but chances are the reading devices (even more so the reading and writing devices) could cost a small fortune. And what with Blu-ray and HD-DVD fighting it out already...

Not much chance right now interesting manufacturers to produce these.

Re:Wait and see (1)

MoHaG (1002926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787871)

You can already buy 300GB disks [issidata.com] made by InPhase technologies and HVD disks should have been released [wikipedia.org] somewhere near the end of last year....

InPhase claims that they should be able to fit up to 1.6TB [inphase-technologies.com] on a slightly larger than DVD disk...

Patents, however might be the reason that the technology would be unlikely to reach reasonable prices soon...

Re:Wait and see (1)

Random Destruction (866027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790211)

From the site

By storing data in 3D throughout the depth of the recording media, not just on the surface, Tapestry holographic technology breaks through teh[sic] historical limitations of data storage.
You'd think they'd proofread it.

Re:Wait and see (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788617)

Along with the other guy's comment, I gotta say InPhase has had a working product out that could hold 500 GB for a loooooong time. Also, the drive used to be $3,000 USD but now it's a little over $18,000. I blame Sony and the PS3 cuz I think it's caused partly by the blue laser shortage cuz some of them use a blue laser (might not be related but who knows) And btw the discs run under $100 each if I remember correctly.

And the winner is... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19787603)

HD-DVD, Blu-Ray...BOTH LOOSE!

Long live laserdisc!

DVD with more megas? Profit! (2, Insightful)

mastermemorex (1119537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787641)

In Spain we have to pay an average of 40 c. for every 100 megas in DVDs to the SGAE what it is the equivalent of the RIAA in The USA.

1. Microholograph?

2. 500 Gb DVDs!?

2. ...

3. Profit!

New video format coming... (2, Insightful)

heretic108 (454817) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787657)

...for these disks. Will need 10GB for the movie itself, and 490GB for the DRM software.

Data. (3, Insightful)

Devv (992734) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787659)

More storage makes it easier to tak backups but with more storage I will also store more data and then the backups will get larger and.. :(

Re:Data. (1)

Afecks (899057) | more than 7 years ago | (#19789671)

Do you really backup all that porn?

I said it... (2, Insightful)

TransEurope (889206) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787697)

... a thousand times. The traditional 2D-technology is uncompetitive since the end of the 1990s.
The cutting edge of optical disks are HD-DVDs als BR-Discs with up to 50 Gigs, but even todays
harddisks can store an entire terabyte of data. At the beginning one or two CD-Rs where able to
store the content of a common harddisk, today you would need dozens of expensive BR-Discs to
backup all that stuff. A holographic storage system with 500 Gigs or more should be the past,
not the future. The industry failed at this point. They try to sell us an old, but badly advanced
technology from yesterday.

I hope this is chance for Newcomers. New smaller companies with good and really innovative
products. But my fear is that the power in public relations of the present giants of the market
will prevent it. Wouldn't be the first time that bad technology wins the race.

Re:I said it... (1)

Crayon Kid (700279) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788865)

And as proof to your point, the most convenient form of storage I use is a laptop HDD in an USB rack. The storage capacity and the speed are great. The read/write access and portability is a breeze because most computers around today have a USB connector. I can upgrade the HDD to bigger and faster whenever I want, with much better cost per GB than anything else around. A well thought case will protect the HDD fairly well, and it's not like I purposely throw it around anyway. The size and weight are small enough to make it practical to carry around.

I don't see ANYTHING on the market today that can beat this. The next best thing are USB flash sticks which handle shocks better and are small enough to be even more practical, but the price per GB is not nearly as nice.

That's IT as far as practical everyday storage is concerned. These are the things that have finally reached the level of practical use once enjoyed by the floppy disc and never surpassed. This is my opinion as an end user, who values ease of use, work-everywhere and $$/GB ratio.

Anybody still insisting on researching optical discs for anything other than R/O stuff or long term storage is IMHO loopy in the head.

Re:I said it... (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19789077)

A holographic storage system with 500 Gigs or more should be the past,
not the future. The industry failed at this point. They try to sell us an old, but badly advanced
technology from yesterday.
The consumer electronics market was never optimised for the expedient promotion of new technology. As with everything in capitalist societies, the process is optimised for best profit prospectives. Why would companies rush this kind of tech to market, when they can take their time, spend less money on it, and get a similar-to-better results a few years later?

Re:I said it... (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19789683)

... a thousand times. The traditional 2D-technology is uncompetitive since the end of the 1990s.
The cutting edge of optical disks are HD-DVDs als BR-Discs with up to 50 Gigs, but even todays
harddisks can store an entire terabyte of data.
At a far higher cost per GB, which puts discs head and shoulders above hard disks/USB drives for distributing data in massive quantities.

Re:I said it... (2, Insightful)

asm2750 (1124425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790713)

Optical media is a more resilient than a hard drive, which is why its used in the consumer market, and sometimes in large data centers that need a backup thats harder to mess up unless you scratch it of course. Only issue about hard drives is you cant shake them or drop them with out the chance of breaking them completely. However I do agree with you that optical media is old, and a solid state replacement should be made, something other than flash too.

Re:I said it... (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790749)

Sadly, this is all old technology... like so much others... that sit in the recesses of IBM Labs. They announced this almost a decade ago. But, like so many of their great discoveries and inventions it sits buried away someplace in the back of IBM Research Labs.

http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/rd/443/ashle y.html

Reading the IBM Research site can be quite amusing. They come up with and even do proof of concept models of so many wonderful things that only see the light of day to their own staff... like the city-wide wireless networks and palm-top computers they used on those networks back in the 80's - or the 2.4GHz wireless PC and laptop cards they released shortly after that (but seem to have forgotten to tell the public about - though you can still find one on eBay every now and then).

They keep inventing the wheel, move on to play with their newest toy (discarding their old one), and then someone else in the world, usually years later, comes up with a brilliant (but already done by IBM) idea.

IBM has always reminded me of Raiders of the Lost Ark... you know, that building in the end with tons of really cool stuff, all boxed away collecting dust? I truly believe one corner of IBM Research/Labs complex is like that - a place where all their "old" toys (inventions) get boxed and put away as soon as their scientists come up with a new toy that makes them forget the older ones.

I'm still waiting on (the years and years old) their Roentgen based LCDs... computers are definitly powerful enough... they even had models with full casing and all - and supposedly offered them for sale with (at the time) systems using multiple video cards to drive the insanely high resolution. 40,000 pixels per square inch...

http://domino.watson.ibm.com/comm/wwwr_thinkrese arch.nsf/pages/fine498.html

That one was announced well over 10 years ago, and demo'd 8 years ago. It exists... you could actually buy it for a time... if you happened to have noticed the Press Release when it came out and knew who to talk to at IBM to buy one.

So anyway, holographic storage (on levels surpassing this "new" development) is old news... worthless old news (because IBM does nothing with all their great inventions - at least not externally). Guess it's a good thing someone else decided to try what IBM already did. Or perhaps, like most of the technology in computers (ethernet, many patents on the optical drives currently used, cpu manufacture tech and so much more), perhaps IBM is content just reaping the royalties while someone else announces and delivers the product that "they" envisioned.

Fortunately, other than paying IBM royalties on the patents, this small company will have smooth sailing... IBM seems to care very little what happens as long as they get their check. You never see them running around yelling "we invented the technology that allows that!" or even require any such notice on all the hardware that is built today. This is a small company, that in that respect, probably has a great chance... if this is based off IBM's patents and designs, then especially so - as IBM will ensure they dont get bothered. That seems to be something else they are good at - and often have invested a bunch of money to ensure that the company developing off of IBM's tech has a chance to succeed. We'll see... maybe they invented their wheel totally independent and still dont realize IBM already has patents and press releases in that area - and working models.

sex with 4 SPONGE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19787719)

bloodfarts. FrreBSD serves to reinforce found out abou7 the TO ANY BSD PROJECT,

No it won't (4, Insightful)

MarkoNo5 (139955) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787741)

Come on, we get these announcements every few weeks, but nobody ever delivers a product. This isn't even news for nerds, it is just vaporware. Wake me up when they create a product that I can actually buy.

Re:No it won't (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787795)

Holographic is a synonym for vaporware in the storage industry. (to the companies) No, don't tell me about your new technology that might result in greater storage; tell me about something already shipping.

Can you say fucking YAWN (2, Insightful)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787767)

Holographic this and that for what the last 15 years, and no product to date that is worth anything? Duke Nukem Forever will hit the shelves before this "just around the corner" tech ever will.

Optical media is garbage and always has been and is an overly fragile way to store data. It's only redeeming feature is once the discs get bellow $1 they effectively become disposeable.

In another year or so, flash chips will reach a price point that'll make them a cost effective alternative for buying movies on DVD's, they've already reached that point for music CD's.

Once the industry notices that, and gets over their DRM OCD, I say good riddance to optical media.

Re:Can you say fucking YAWN (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787879)

"flash chips will reach a price point that'll make them a cost effective alternative for buying movies on DVD's"

over $50 for a 1gig flash card vs $1 for a 4.2gig dvdr. unless you know something none of us knows, i highly doubt it'll happen in the next year, or ever.

Re:Can you say fucking YAWN (1)

binkzz (779594) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788479)

I have no idea where you buy your flash cards, but you're getting ripped off. You can buy them for under $10 on ebay, and they're still dropping in price.

Re:Can you say fucking YAWN (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19789057)

Quit buying brick and morter retail silly bastard.

Newegg.com

1 gig Kingston micro SD, about the size of your pinky finger nail $8
2 gig SD $15
4 gig SD $34
8 gig SD chip $65
16 gig CF $120

Those are retail prices right now. So some time next year sounds about right.

Remember Constellation 3D? (1)

hnsez (803044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19789141)

They had the tech back in 1999 to put 1 T on a disc. The company's disappeared. It was called the Fluorescent Multilayer Disc. They had over 120 patents but went bankrupt for lack of funds/investors after the .com crash. Their technology was bought out and is now called Digital Multilayer Disk (DMD). http://www.ddatainc.com/page02.html [ddatainc.com] But without money the superior tech will likely lose again to either blue-ray or HD-DVD or some other tech backed by the big content providers.

Strong feeling of deja vu here (2, Interesting)

kevibabe (1123923) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787787)

A company called Constellation 3D developed "Fluorescent Multilayer" disks about 6 or 7 years ago. They even had a working prototype if I recall correctly. Followed the story for a while and then the company went bankrupt due to an investor pulling out (mugs!) Even back then they said they would produce first gen products of 120GB. There's even a WIKI history...... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constellation_3D [wikipedia.org] Surely we should have moved away from a spinning disk by now!

Next steps (5, Funny)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787821)

Good! Now let's make two incompatible standards out of it, start a formats war, and sell the same old films to the same old people again, in both formats if possible.

Re:Next steps (2, Funny)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790261)

And don't forget to create a new obscure encryption just like CSS and ACSS. Surely no one will be able to find the key to a hologram!

DMD and Piracy (2, Interesting)

Plasmagrid (322106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787875)

Interesting....NOT
a qoute from wiki is that it will improve piracy protecion
"HD-DMD enables dramatic improvements in piracy protection, by taking advantage of the multiple layers of information."

They still never learn, what was made by man shall be cracked by man.

Re:DMD and Piracy (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#19789341)

They still never learn, what was made by man shall be cracked by man.
Tip to the MPAA: have chimps design your next DRM.

New disks... (3, Insightful)

g0dsp33d (849253) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787891)

I hope they have two new competing formats!

Seriously though, they have been talking about huge storage disks since we discovered round plastic circles. Yeah, they've been getting higher data densities, but if you look at the progression of other storage formats (especially hard drives) optical is just not keeping up. By the time we get 500Gb disks, they'll sound to us much like yesteryear's 40Gb disks sound to us now compared to our 500+Gb hard drives.

You can already *BUY* 300GB discs (3, Informative)

sien (35268) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787919)

InPhase Technologies [inphase-tech.com] have a system that writes 300GB holographic discs and they have a roadmap that goes to 1.6TB.

They cost [inphase-tech.com] 18K for the drive and $300 for the discs.

They are expensive now, but when they drop they will make it worthwhile.

All of the Simpsons, the Complete Bach, the complete Mozart, the complete Beethoven all together on one disc.

Re:You can already *BUY* 300GB discs (0, Redundant)

mastermemorex (1119537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19787953)

Oh my! I scratched one!

Re:You can already *BUY* 300GB discs (1)

bdo19 (992170) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788123)

Won't they have to move some units to bring the prices down in the first place? Who's going to pay $300 for a 300GB disc that requires an $18K drive when a 300GB hard drive can be had for $100? I'd hate to be the one who invested in this!

Re:You can already *BUY* 300GB discs (1)

osgeek (239988) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788231)

They've been beating that drum for years. Can't you tell that they're investor-gobbling vaporware crooks?

Re:You can already *BUY* 300GB discs (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 7 years ago | (#19789253)

Well, yeah so far you can replace the media with a HDD (around $100 and save $200) and the drive with a USB/firewire enclosure (~$40 and save ~$18000). They need to bring the prices down soon.

Re:You can already *BUY* 300GB discs (1)

my $anity 0 (917519) | more than 7 years ago | (#19789709)

Where are you buying this enclosure! Mine cost $25 on Newegg!
And $100 will get you 500GB at present.

Re:You can already *BUY* 300GB discs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19789563)

Errm, if you look at the pricing its not 300 dollars for a disk but $180.00, (see this [inphase-tech.com] ). Still thats quite a bit of money.

Yet more deja vu all over again again (4, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788179)

Holographic Memories; Scientific American, November 1995, by Psaltis & Mok

It does make some sense to spin a disk rather than reorient the beam. But a solid crystal holographic storage device not only has lots of locations within itself to store collections of data, but can also be turned on a turntable and have the beam attack it from different directions, storing more data in the same place but at a different angle.

3D holographic storage design has another benefit -- it is self-searching via "reverse" holography. You shine a laser off a target and let it reflect to the memory, and out comes as many copies of the reference beam as their are stored data sets (with a realistic situation of most dissimilar results being buried in noise). Each beam is proportional to the strength of the reference beam according to the similarity of the dataset it came from. You can pick the strongest if you want to find the closest match, or you can statistically test the range of beam strengths to check for uniqueness of the target, or any number of things. The search process is virtually instantaneous, the speed of getting the result limited only by the speed of the measuring and calculating processes.

Just what the MPAA wants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19788325)

480 gig cryptographic keys.

Microholography Could Lead to 999 TB Discs (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19788453)

Microholography Could Lead to 999 TB Discs --- well, it could.
I'm willing to say, Microholography Could Lead to 999,999,999,999,999,999 TB Discs. All of these statements are true, yet meaningless.

A frozen pig could fly out of the poster's arse too. well, it could happen, right?

Mod me troll, please.

Re: Microholography Could Lead to 999 TB Discs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19788941)

I'm willing to say, Microholography Could Lead to 999,999,999,999,999,999 TB Discs.
That's 8.8×10^30 bits. I know you're joking... but you're incorrect in that statement. There are fundamental limits on data storage. A CD/DVD form factor is a disk 120 mm in diameter and ~1 mm thick, so it has a volume of 1×10^-5 m^3.

Since holography is an optical technique, it is limited by the diffraction limit. If the system is using, say, 200 nm light then the minimum spot size will be ~100 nm. If each addressable volume is (100 nm)^3, then that means the disk has a total of 10^16 addressable locations. So that's 10^16 bits of data, assuming binary encoding. If you assume grayscale encoding you can perhaps increase this, by storing more bits within each addressable volume... but eventually you will run into issues of spectral overlap, meaning you have to use a wider range of wavelengths of lights, which makes the diffraction limit problem worse.

It might be possible to user shorter and shorter wavelengths of light, or use near-field optical setups, and get the addressable volume down to (10 nm)^3, which brings us to 10^19 bits in the disk.

If you get rid of the optical requirement, maybe with some other encoding scheme you can address individual atoms. A disk contains about 5×10^23 atoms. So if you can somehow use each atom to encode data, then ~10^23 bits may be possible.

My point is merely that there are fundamental physical limits on data encoding. We cannot expect technology to continue getting arbitrarily better. Or, more to the point, we cannot expect a given type of technology to be refined until it is arbitrarily good. At a certain point, the industry would have to undergo a paradigm shift (e.g. quantum computing) to go beyond certain fundamental limits.

I felt a great disturbance in the Force,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19788619)

... as if millions of record company executives suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

YOU FAIL IT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19788635)

Anyone else see this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19788877)

I thought I saw three-dimensional holographic girls
instead of three-dimensional holographic grids.

Easier Backups (1)

Steve Furlong (9087) | more than 7 years ago | (#19788891)

500GB on one disk? Great! Now I can back up my porn on only two disks!

The Real News (1)

wayward_bruce (988607) | more than 7 years ago | (#19789535)

...is that a holography is about to enter consumer market as a practical method to store data. It is beside the point how much data we can store on a single disc just now. Remember floppies? Also, I am pretty sure that holographic data storage can be modified to use no moving parts at all, just a small enough reading/writing surface, strong enough laser beam and a lens or two. If you have ever made a holograph in a physics class, you will remember that nothing was moving there (at least in macro-world) except for your finger on the light switch. I have faith in physicists who work in R&D at major data storage companies. We might even have another format war lurking in the shadows.

Re:The Real News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19789859)

Holographic data storage? About to enter the consumer market? HAHAHA, get real. Don't actually expect anything like this for over a decade, it's just another holodisk pitch, there's once every couple months, and none of them ever produce anything for the consumer.

You can build any storage with no moving parts. (1)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790169)

I am pretty sure that holographic data storage can be modified to use no moving parts at all

Sure, so long as you don't want to store more bits than you have transducers. There's lots of ways to store data in charged or magnetised material with no moving parts: RAM, ROM, core memory. The problem is that you usually need to build a physical sensor of some kind for every bit that you want to store, which severely limits the capacity of the device.

In some cases you can store multiple bits per sensor by having a mechanism to cycle storage locations past a sensor. There's a few approaches here, like acoustic storage (descendants of the mercury delay line in EDSAC) and bubble memory, but they have their own problems.

The closest to a system with "no moving parts" is one that uses a steerable short-wavelength beam in free-space to share a sensor between a number of locations. This can provide a constant increase in capacity per sensor, at the cost of increasing the time required to address a given location. You still need many many sensors to read a significant amount of data.

If you have ever made a holograph in a physics class, you will remember that nothing was moving there

Magnets have no moving parts, either... but you can't read more than one bit per magnet. The illusion that holographic storage would need no moving parts only exists because you're using a high density grid of moving sensors that you're so familiar with you don't notice you're using them.

still here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19789737)

I can't understand why we are still concentrating with disks....
they are NOT good for high capacity and worse for portability...
I mean... disks mean moving parts, which mean less resistance with moving environments... and it adds the mechanic-failure problem, both from the reader and storage part...
and disks can be scratched way too easily... with high-density disks this is even worse, since high-density means less error-recover reading and so on...
500gb... what does it mean, that it can not even be a finger-tip on them?
why don't we just concentrate with flash-like storage and design interfaces with higher bandwith?
they would be have a tenth of the disks problems....

o the...... (1)

vx922 (1108955) | more than 7 years ago | (#19789903)

o the pr0n i will save

I'm not impressed (1)

deAtog (987710) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790547)

Vendors have been promising us high density compact discs for years, and we have yet to see them make a dent into the market. HVD [wikipedia.org] for instance, which was developed by Optware and announced back in 2004, promised storages sizes up to 3.9TB or more per disc by 2010. So far the only company to produce a product based on the HVD technology has been InPhase Technologies [inphase-technologies.com] . Their Tapestry unit costs a mere $18,000 USD for the drive and another $180 USD for the media. HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are no exception to this either. If any of these formats are to compete with current storage trends, they will need to become cheap and affordable compared to other forms of storage.

HVD? (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790863)

Can someone explain to me how this is any different than the prototype HVD [wikipedia.org] format?

One problem... BANDWIDTH! (3, Insightful)

ronhip (465417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19790867)

The only problem I see is that at a rate of 200Mb/sec as stated in the article, it would take over 11 hours to fill a 1TB disk!
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