bit-tech.net

GE claims holographic data breakthrough

GE claims holographic data breakthrough

The new holographic storage medium from GE can hold 500GB in a DVD-size disc - with the promise of up to 1TB in the future.

While holographic data discs always seem to be just over the horizon, at least one company believes it is close to a breakthrough in commercialising the next big thing in removable storage – to the point where a consumer-level device isn't far away.

According to MaximumPC, General Electric has announced a microholographic storage material capable of squeezing 500GB of data into the same form factor as a 25GB Bluray disc.

While holographic storage is, by its very nature, vastly different to traditional optical media – rather than a two dimensional layout, holographic storage uses the entire volume of the disc – GE believes that its six-year research project has yielded an implementation which isn't vastly different to current optical storage devices. Indeed, the company believes that its microholographic players would be backwards compatible with CDs, DVDs, and Bluray discs.

The head of the company's holographic storage division, Brian Lawrence, described the breakthrough as “a huge step toward bringing our next generation holographic storage technology to the everyday consumer.” Lawrence stated that the technology holds the promise for “cost-effective, robust and reliable holographic drives that could be in every one.

The company's work isn't over, of course: as well as attempts to push the storage available in a standard disc size to 1TB, the company is still concentrating on ensuring the any implementations of the technology will provide backwards compatibility both at the consumer and manufacturing levels.

Despite this, the head of the technology venture team Bill Kernick is confident that GE can “now intensify our efforts in commercialisation opportunities.” The company states that it will be concentrating on the data archival industry at first, before rolling out the technology to the consumer level – although it wasn't forthcoming with a date.

Looking forward to the day you can back up your entire hard drive onto a single optical disc, or is Bluray more than enough for the foreseeable future? Will you believe GE's breakthrough when you see it? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

20 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
p3n 28th April 2009, 11:27 Quote
Who needs a disc that large? I certainly don't trust optical discs as 'backups' as they can be easily damaged/ seem to wear out over time (RIP jackass season 1) - Will be interesting to see if these discs are a tad more resilient.
Journeyer 28th April 2009, 11:45 Quote
I agree with p3n in the sense that spinning optical media will always be at risk from wear and tear, and plain old maltreatment. However, this would obviously only be the first generation of holographic storage devices, and as such it is my firm belief that next-gen devices will not be built around spinning mediums. I'm still awaiting the Babylon 5-esque crystal storage devices, which in principle is the same thing.
johnnyboy700 28th April 2009, 12:11 Quote
Hang on, didn't the HAL 9000 from 2001 use holographic storage?

Life imitating art again?
Paradigm Shifter 28th April 2009, 12:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyer
I'm still awaiting the Babylon 5-esque crystal storage devices, which in principle is the same thing.

Sort of a holographic SSD? :D

Yeah, the capacity of holographic discs, with the resilience of solid state media.

Do want. :D

More storage is always a good thing... but 500GB... if the data read/write rates haven't improved a lot, writing 500GB will take forever. Two things stop me from using Blu-ray as a secondary backup medium - the cost of the discs (the writer drives themselves aren't too bad - about half the price of my first CD writer) and the fact that they write so slowly. :(
Yemerich 28th April 2009, 13:02 Quote
@Paradigm: Agreed

But backwards compatible? this seems folklore to me...
Burnout21 28th April 2009, 13:06 Quote
I actually want this capacity 500GB disc, yeah i would invest them, even 1TB.

I could backup my HDD's and archive them each month or every two months. Ghosting the whole drive.

When you backup all your DVD's on HDD, plus hunderds of CD's and then loose it all, there is nothing worse than doing it all again!

Something to which i might be faced to have to do! :(


Also now HD-DVD and blue offer, loseless audio, maybe the video wont be compressed down to 1080p, allowing a much closer res to that of 35mm film which the films are shot on. This would then lead to what i would call true HD, 1080p is still too small! Newer flat panels, or projectors. Cinema quality, but digital! yay!
Paradigm Shifter 28th April 2009, 13:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnout21
Also now HD-DVD and blue offer, loseless audio, maybe the video wont be compressed down to 1080p, allowing a much closer res to that of 35mm film which the films are shot on. This would then lead to what i would call true HD, 1080p is still too small! Newer flat panels, or projectors. Cinema quality, but digital! yay!

I shudder to think how much the film industry will want to charge for totally uncompressed audio and video on discs for films. The price premium on Blu-ray is already significant, and HD-DVD wasn't exactly cheap. My local Comet is still trying to sell off the HD-DVD drives for the XBox 360 and HD-DVD films... they want £150 for the drive and £35 a film! At least, they did just before Easter. They might have pulled them now.
brave758 28th April 2009, 15:45 Quote
Looking forward to seeing them. Man the speed this stuff is moving now is scary
Jordan Wise 28th April 2009, 17:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyboy700
Hang on, didn't the HAL 9000 from 2001 use holographic storage?

Yeah, and we all know how well that turned out
Omnituens 28th April 2009, 18:53 Quote
Holographic storage was also used in the backstory to the MMO Neocron.... that didn't turn out well either.

DESTROY IT BEFORE IT DESTROYS US!
StephenK 28th April 2009, 18:54 Quote
Who needs this much space on a disc?

'The world will only need 5 computers' 'Nobody will ever need more than 128k of memory' ' Etc etc.

Perhaps we don't need this much space on a disc at this point in time but that's really not the point.

Optical media are indeed subject to wear and tear and mistreatment but so are all other physical forms of storage. Perhaps the optical discs can be made less prone to scratching,etc. Either way, you just make sure to back them up every few years. Or, more likely, you back up for 8 year old 1TB holodiscs onto newer 200TB cubes or 500TB wafers or whatever.
perplekks45 28th April 2009, 20:20 Quote
I don't know why we wouldn't welcome this.
I totally agree with StephenK: We might not need it today, but what about in 10 years? 20? 50? 100? Seeing how fast HDDs grew in size within the last 5 years I wouldn't say 500GB is OTT.

Also, about the uncompressed movie thing: What about some Super Hi-Vision/Ultra-HD @ 7680 × 4320 pixel?

Size comparison:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/28k_RED_CAMERA.png

FullHD is the little turquoise thing in the top left while UHD is "big blue".
thehippoz 28th April 2009, 20:41 Quote
I would like to see fast 1TB flash sticks someday for regular backups.. with 1tb usb harddrives going for under a hundred bucks, thats the way to go currently.. this would be nice for media archives though, store it in a dark place.. it looks like thats what they're targeting first

the 1tb harddrive for weekly and these disks for permanent storage would be a very nice setup to have.. only downside is like was mentioned.. what if you scratched one of these discs and it held important data on it- roid rages
knutjb 29th April 2009, 01:13 Quote
I think it's brilliant. The ability to store that much on a small plastic disc is amazing. Can they make it bigger and cheaper with fast transfer rates before its' old tech? If it's the same size as a cd/dvd/bluray backward compatibility is pretty easy but it's a moot point if there is an equally large or larger capacity that comes in a physically smaller/more convenient platform. Perhaps they can make it in a different shape or size...
perplekks45 29th April 2009, 04:17 Quote
Backwards compatibility is not pretty easy just because it's the same size/format. The process behind it is pretty different, actually. :p
Spaceraver 29th April 2009, 09:24 Quote
And que the external harddrive for backup folks.. If you are so worried about your data you would be running raid 5 with some external drives to go with it anyways.. almost nothing beats the hdd for storage capacity and the amount of read writes it can endure.
Paradigm Shifter 29th April 2009, 11:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
Backwards compatibility is not pretty easy just because it's the same size/format. The process behind it is pretty different, actually. :p
That is certainly true - but the Blu-ray drive I had in a laptop had two different lenses - one for reading Blu-ray and one for reading CD/DVD. Chances are the 'backwards compatibility' would be something like that.

If, on the other hand, they made these holographic discs... I dunno, square, or mini-CD sized... or changed the size of the spindle hole, or tripled the thickness of the discs... backwards compatibility would go right out the window. ;)
Vimesey 29th April 2009, 13:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter

or mini-CD sized...

See that's where the exciting potential lies, if we don't need 500GB, you could fit a Blu-Ray disk level of capacity on a tiny format. Which would be amazing for netbooks etc.
perplekks45 29th April 2009, 14:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
That is certainly true - but the Blu-ray drive I had in a laptop had two different lenses - one for reading Blu-ray and one for reading CD/DVD. Chances are the 'backwards compatibility' would be something like that.

If, on the other hand, they made these holographic discs... I dunno, square, or mini-CD sized... or changed the size of the spindle hole, or tripled the thickness of the discs... backwards compatibility would go right out the window. ;)
And... you have a point. ;) :)
bobwya 3rd May 2009, 23:21 Quote
Ok so you can buy a 3,000.00 GBP holographic "burner" and 100.00 GBP 500Gb R/W discs to go with it... in say 5 years time. Anyone spot a subtle flaw here...
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums