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GE holographic disc stores 500GB of data

Researchers at GE have validated technology that will one day usher in the next generation of optical storage -- holographic storage. The researchers have developed a disc the size of a standard DVD that can hold 500GB of data. The researchers say that conventional optical storage discs only store information on the surface of a disc while holographic storage can store information on the entire volume of the disc material.

Tiny holographic bits of information are written to the disc in patterns and can then be read back by the drive. The capacity of holographic discs are a breakthrough, but the technology used in the process is similar enough to the current DVD and Blu-ray technology in wide use that future optical drives will be able to read CD, DVD, Blu-ray, and holographic discs.

GE's Brian Lawrence said in a statement, "GE’s breakthrough is a huge step toward bringing our next generation holographic storage technology to the everyday consumer. Because GE’s micro-holographic discs could essentially be read and played using similar optics to those found in standard Blu-ray players, our technology will pave the way for cost-effective, robust and reliable holographic drives that could be in every home. The day when you can store your entire high definition movie collection on one disc and support high resolution formats like 3-D television is closer than you think."

GE reports that its researchers have been able to successfully record micro-holographic marks approaching one percent reflectivity at a diameter of about one micron. The one-micron size will allow a disc the size of a conventional DVD to hold 500GB of data. GE has been working on holographic storage for six years and the 500GB capacity is a milestone in its research. The researchers hope to eventually devise a way to store 1,000GB of data on a single disc using the holographic process. In 2007, InPhase started shipping holographic writers and media that could store 300GB per disc.

GE's Bill Kernick said, "GE’s holographic storage program has turned the corner, and with this milestone we can now intensify our efforts in commercialization opportunities. We’ll continue to engage with a variety of strategic partners to create the best route from product development to introduction into the marketplace."

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Optical Storage is Dead
By myhipsi on 4/29/2009 8:47:45 AM , Rating: 1
At least for me it is. Flash is getting cheaper by the hour, and by the time this thing sees the light of day you'll probably be able to store 500GB on a usb device the size of a Bic lighter for just as cheap.

As it is, I already have 100 DVD-Rs that I bought at Costco about 2 years ago sitting in a drawer collecting dust. As for Blu-ray, even though it's been on the market for a while now, it's still prohibitively expensive to use as a backup solution ($400.00 for the writer, and $15.00 per 25GB disc). Let's face it, the best high capacity backup solution right now is an external usb/e-sata HDD. It's fast, cheap, and reliable.

As for a medium for movies, games, etc. I think a great solution for the future is to put movies and games on write once proprietary flash based devices. Remember the good ole days of cartidges, near instant boot up, noiseless, and reliable. Well, imagine cartridges, just a whole lot smaller.

Mechanical optical drives are for the birds, IMO. They're noisey, and slow. They take forever to recognize a disc and actually start loading something. They scratch easily if mishandled, and they're bulky when compared to thumb drives.

The day I can finally toss my CD/DVD drive in the garbage and never have to hear another one spin up again, will be a happy one for me. Optical drives had their day in the sun, solid state storage is the future.

RE: Optical Storage is Dead
By afkrotch on 4/29/2009 11:14:09 AM , Rating: 3
blu-ray burner (under $170)(

blu-ray discs (under $5 a 25GB disc)(

Optical drives will be around a very long time. Hell, tape drives are still around. It's simply the cost.

4 gb USB key - $15
4.7 gb DVD (50 pack) - $15

Over 58 times the capacity for the same cost.

RE: Optical Storage is Dead
By myhipsi on 4/29/2009 12:43:47 PM , Rating: 2
I guess I was a little out of date on pricing, so your point is well taken with respect to the cost of Blu-ray storage.

I should have rephrased my subject line to "Optical storage is dead TO ME!"

Cost notwithstanding, I loath optical mediums for many reasons. Like I said before, I'm looking forward to the day I can toss my DVD burner, and buy and install Windows 7 (or whatever O/S of the day) from a USB key.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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