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Abideen claims to have placed a 45 second video clip on a single sheet of paper, with the possibility of up to 450GB on the horizon - Image courtesy Arab News
Rainbow technology still in the works but holds promise

According to a report from the Arab News, a university technology student named Sainul Abideen has invented a method of storing massive amounts of digital data on a plain piece of paper that he claims could store many times the capacity of the best Blu-ray or HD-DVD discs. In fact, Abideen says that his Rainbow technology can enable him to store from 90 to 450GB on a piece of paper. As far as a real life demonstration of a 450GB paper goes, the technology still needs development.

Abideen, who hails from the Kerala, India, claims that that his Rainbow system is better than a binary storage because instead of using ones and zeros to represent data, Abideen uses geometric shapes such as squares and hexagons to represent data patterns. Color is also used in the system to represent other data elements. According to Abideen, all that's required to read the Rainbow prints is a scanner and specialized software.

The reporter at Arab News claims to have seen 450 pages of fully printed foolscap being stored on a 4-square inch piece of Rainbow paper. The reporter also claimed that he was shown a 45-second video clip that was stored using the Rainbow system on a plain piece of paper. Interestingly, 45-seconds of video isn't a lot, and if the Rainbow system can store up to 450GB, then we need to be watching full length high-definition videos from a piece of paper.

One of the major advantages of the Rainbow system is the fact that it should cost a lot less to produce than typical polycarbonate DVD and CD discs. Abideen claims that huge databanks can be constructed out of Rainbow-based storage mediums. Although the main attraction is cheap paper right now, other media can use the Rainbow system too.

As of right now, Abideen's system is still under research at the Muslim Educational Society Engineering College and although no major companies have expressed interest, Abideen is confident of the system's future. According to the report, Aibdeen is hard at work at developing a Rainbow scanner that would be small enough for integration into notebook computers. If developed, a Rainbow printer will likely be next up.

In other high-capacity storage news, DailyTech previously reported that Hitachi-Maxell is in the progress of producing holographic media for shipment this year. Holographic storage is one of the biggest forward-looking storage technologies and holds a great deal of promise -- as well as data.

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By stevenplatt on 11/24/2006 3:57:42 PM , Rating: 2
This sounds like great technology. But the one thing that i find interesting is the fact that it IS printed on paper. Paper isnt exactly a practical storage medium. If colors are to be used to store information then with paper colors would fade over time and lead to data corruptions. Also paper isnt a sturdy medium at all. I didnt get exactly how important the paper was and if this technology could be applied to plastics like a memory card. Also i do not understand why shapes are more effective than binary. Unless 1 shape equates to more than one byte of data. maybe this is where the current develpement is, and why we are not watching high def movies from paper.

RE: Unpractial
By AlexWade on 11/24/2006 4:05:34 PM , Rating: 2
Supposing we all converted to paper storage. All we would need is a fire, and we are screwed big time. I realize, of course, that fire can damage other storage mediums. But with those, there is a chance of recovery.

RE: Unpractial
By Griswold on 11/25/2006 5:05:24 AM , Rating: 3
You mean like in centuries gone by, where all knowledge was stored on paper? Seems like we were able to preserve some of it until today. ;)

By the way, you can still recover information from a burned piece of paper - as long as no water was poured over it (which usually happen when you try to put a fire out).

RE: Unpractial
By ninjit on 11/24/2006 4:08:59 PM , Rating: 2
The use of shapes and colors means more symbols allowing you to store more data.

Think of it in terms of a binary digit string vs a hexadecimal string:

a 32-bit binary string is 32 characters long, but the same information in hexadecimal is only 8 characters long.

The problem with more symbols is that it could lead to ambiguity - e.g. an octagon could look like a circle or a hexgon, etc. leaving a lot more room for errors in interpretation.
Binary data has the least ambiguity: it's either there or it 's not

RE: Unpractial
By Russell on 11/24/2006 4:13:36 PM , Rating: 2

I think the ambiguity issue isn't a big one so long as the scanners and printers use a high enough resolution to scan or print them without confusion.

What concerns me is what happens to the data if the page is folded. That could screw up everything along the fold.

RE: Unpractial
By ghost101 on 11/24/2006 4:17:35 PM , Rating: 2
I was just wondering about the scanning issue. Wouldnt it be exactly the same as using binary?

RE: Unpractial
By ghost101 on 11/24/2006 4:16:02 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, nothing is as simply and clear cut as binary. As for people complaining that paper can burn and fade. Well, if printed and stored properly im sure it will last as long as for what it has been designated for. As for burning, i dont think CDs will survive a fire.

I dont think this will catch on though as shown by the lack of corporate interest.

Also, whats this errorsafe popup i always get on dailytech but nowhere else?

RE: Unpractial
By KristopherKubicki on 11/24/2006 4:31:38 PM , Rating: 2

Also, whats this errorsafe popup i always get on dailytech but nowhere else?

We have a rogue ad we're trying to track down and get rid of.


RE: Unpractial
By saratoga on 11/26/2006 3:36:53 PM , Rating: 2
The use of shapes and colors means more symbols allowing you to store more data.

Colors yes, shapes no. Shapes are just groups of pixels. A shape that is made of 10 pixels contains no more information then the 10 pixels that compose it. Colors do help though since they allow each pixel to have more information.

Think of it in terms of a binary digit string vs a hexadecimal string:

a 32-bit binary string is 32 characters long, but the same information in hexadecimal is only 8 characters long.

Yes but the characters are now more complex. Encoding the 32 binary characters can be done using just 1 32 bit color pixel, or 32 black/white pixels. Encoding each of the 8 hex characters requires 4 black white pixels. Either way the maximum information capacity is the same.

RE: Unpractial
By originaldosa on 11/24/2006 6:18:33 PM , Rating: 2
I would be a waste of space but if this technology was some how used for future Blue-ray or HD-DVD rentals or other commercial rentals it would could prevent copyright issues. The paper would eventually become corrupt and unplayable resulting in purchasing Blu-ray or HD-DVD movies.

RE: Unpractial
By leidegre on 11/25/2006 7:46:31 AM , Rating: 3
Paper is just a type of print, this technology is something i read about before and it's bascially about geometry.

The principle of this technique is to store information not in a planer binary map, but in a multi-dimensional space, not just 3D, any kind of dimensional space you can com up with. Shapes and colurs allow such dimensions to exist, but this kind of gemetric storage could reside within platic as well, and even if the print in this case is written on a paper, that is still not representing a depth. The medium could be anything really.

It's always intresting with new stuff, just have to wait and see what happens.

RE: Unpractial
By ElJefe69 on 11/27/2006 2:03:25 PM , Rating: 2
You are the only person who is not a complete and utter ignorant moron of enormous proportions.

clearly, this inventor has an enormous understanding and also design that no one on this forum even has 1% of.

It took someone like 20 posts down to begin to discuss hex and all that. See, when someone INVENTS something, that means it has not been around yet for you consuming morons of miniscule tidbits of knowledge.

RE: Unpractial
By audiophi1e on 11/30/2006 12:15:34 PM , Rating: 2
I agree.

This is a novel application to storing data. Whereas bits or even hex are values stored in linear fashion, using a plane (2 dimensional storage) adds spacial data that has no way of being emulated by simple hex.

You can specify in binary the existence of 10 dots by having 1111111111 as your data value, but how do you specify WHERE in the plane of that media (paper in this case) they are, and HOW they are spacially arranged? They can be in a circle, square, triangle...and then how large is the shape? These are parameters that add nearly incalculable permutations of data.

Conventional data is only 1 dimensional--stored in linear array. This is 2 dimensional data. If he were to perfect his compression algorithm , I'd wager good money that 450GB IS MERELY THE BEGINNING.

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
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