GE claims holographic data breakthrough

April 28, 2009 // 9:54 a.m.

Tags: #bd #cd #dvd #ge #general-electric #holographic-disc #holographic-storage #microholographic #optical-disc #optical-storage #storage

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.
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