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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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RE: Sure
By TomZ on 11/24/2006 5:39:23 PM , Rating: 0
I read about it and how it works, and it sounds like bullshit to me. It might work if you also developed really high resolution scanners and printers (like 100,000-200,000 dpi), but without such a development, I seriously doubt the authors claims are valid, especially when it sounds like they are using regular printers and scanners.

RE: Sure
By Russell on 11/24/06, Rating: -1
RE: Sure
By Shining Arcanine on 11/25/2006 12:24:06 PM , Rating: 2
If you were to have 1 cm^2 blocks on a piece of paper, with each one either being there or not, each one would represent a bit. Now, imagine the same encoding scheme, except with different colors and shapes either being there or not being there.

With this scheme, you can theoretically store an infinitely greater amount of information in the same area that you would have a single bit, but as the data density rises, reading it becomes more and more complex, and eventually, it becomes absurdly difficult to discern between one symbol and another, especially as the wavelengths of each color rises and the number of sides on the polygons increase. However, it is possible. The Chinese have hundreds of thousands of different characters and they are able to read them without much a problem, although learning to use them is extremely difficult.

If this scheme is adopted for data storage, it will only be used for short term read-only data storage, as the colors will fade with time and it is impossible to rewrite to such a medium.

RE: Sure
By Jaylllo on 11/25/2006 2:42:43 PM , Rating: 2
It's kinda funny. This idea seems like a beefed up cellular automata.

I really wonder if it is even feasible in terms of speed. CA is considered a "junk"/"turing tarpit"
Any experts on Theory of Computation here?

Also, Chinese doens't have hundreds of thousands of characters. That's nonsense.

Of meaningful words ~20,000.
Actually used ~12,000
Academic level is supposedly 7-9,000
Literacy is about 3,000.

Learning any language takes a lot of time. If you think Chinese is "hard" try Hindi... Anyway, Linguists say all languages are equal in terms of information exchange. Chinese doesn't have tenses, English doesn't incorporate mood into conjugation unlike Spanish.

Different paradigms, different trade offs. All the same.

RE: Sure
By Daigain on 11/25/2006 6:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
Actully there was some guy who wasted his whole life writing down all the Chinese symbols that he could find, If i remember correctly he got up to about 250.000(twohundredandfiftytousand) symbols.

RE: Sure
By AnnihilatorX on 11/26/2006 8:18:24 AM , Rating: 2
Jaylllo I stronly believe the figure you quoted is the number of Chinese characters used by Japanese (as Kanji known by them)

7-9000 is number of kanji requried to be learnt in the Japanese syllabus.
Of course the Japanese uses a mix of kanji and Hiragana (and Katakana) in thier writing system. Chinese however consists entirely of characters. We would therefore use much more in everyday usage

RE: Sure
By Daigain on 11/26/2006 6:33:41 PM , Rating: 2
Japanese people learn about 2000 Kanji's in School. And Chinese people about 5000.

But you cant just look at the numbers japanese Kanji's often have more then one way to be read.

RE: Sure
By rushfan2006 on 12/1/2006 12:39:27 PM , Rating: 2
Couldn't agree more on this one.

I think its bunk....not to mention I'm still trying to think of the value of it. Like even for argument's sake pretending you really CAN store 450 gigs on a plain piece of paper...the ONLY advantage I can see off the top of my head would be cost savings (because paper is pretty cheap).

Also I'm keeping in mind other technologies in the works...damn I wish I remembered the specifics of the one that really interests me -- there is one group (I think it may be MIT even) that is aiming to store something like 1 TERAbyte in a space no bigger than a postage stamp.

I'm much more interested in that than this paper stuff....

Paper after all is very very easily damaged, torn, ripped, ruined, folded, etc. etc.

Anyway it doesn't much matter becuase I think its BS.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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