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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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Possible alternative use...
By Kerdal on 11/24/2006 4:12:26 PM , Rating: 2
If 450gb of data can be stored on a piece of paper and you only need a scanner to read it then a simple picture file could contain all that data too... This could possibly be used as a new compression method. Unless, of course, the resolution needed to read such data is too high resulting in a picture file almost as big as the original data.

I agree stevenplatt, paper isn't a good medium for that much information because the data could be lost so easily : humidity, fire, ink fading with age, even folding the paper could alter the data too.




RE: Possible alternative use...
By Russell on 11/24/2006 4:16:01 PM , Rating: 2
I think the point of it is just to have a cheap storage medium that anybody can carry around or use at any time.

It's also a technology concept demo. They could use anything to store the data. What's critical is this "rainbow code" thing they talk about.

This isn't an original idea, we all know that hexadecimal can store more data than binary with fewer digits, but its an extension of that idea designed to get this dude his graduate degree of some kind.


RE: Possible alternative use...
By Gentleman on 11/24/2006 4:16:01 PM , Rating: 2
This just sounds like a new way of compressing data. ie have these different shape and color combination in a lookup table and use it to encode a few bytes into a shape. Images of sticking cards into a computer comes to mind, oh wait we already past that stage of punch cards..is this the next evolution? I hope not.


RE: Possible alternative use...
By osalcido on 11/24/2006 6:05:31 PM , Rating: 1
carrying around data like this is gonna be a thing of the past... everything is going wireless now and everything will be transferred via internet

beides, this whole thing sounds stupid. so you can store data on a piece of paper... ok... but how do you rewrite it? or erase it? you just have to keep going out and buying more and more paper? retarded


RE: Possible alternative use...
By tungtung on 11/24/2006 6:25:55 PM , Rating: 2
I think the main point of this is just that this method allow the use of cheaper medium to store data. Instead of producing those flash memory chips or CD/DVD (including HD and Blu-Ray) discs, it will theoretically allow the use of regular paper or plastic to store your data.

However I think it is just too impractical for too many reasons. First of all the media is just too frail, and as pointed by several people paper can be easily folded, and easily destroyed, as well unless they can invent inks that will not fade over time or peel off the paper, then data integrity is almost impossible to achieve.

Secondly as pointed by another poster, you will need a very very high resolution scanner, and not to mention printer to actually store the data and then retrieve it again. And not to mention how much processing power will this entail. I mean in the end we're still dealing with a binary system, so this technology will just slow down the data processing.

I think at the end of the day, the impracticality, the lack of data security is just way too much to overcome as opposed to the gain in savings on the medium. This I believe will just become a dead end technology that might never see the light of day in the retail market.


"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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