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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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Today, General Electric unveiled a next-generation optical storage technology that can pack as much as 20 Blu-Ray discs or a hundred DVDs' worth of data onto a single disc. The newly devised discs, which use holograms to store data in the form of bits, can hold 500 gigabytes of information, the company says.

Researchers achieved this data density by embedding microscopic holographic patterns in light-sensitive plastic. When the disc is later "read" (hit with a laser beam to retrieve the data for subsequent deciphering), these plastic micro-holograms act like tiny mirrors that reflect the signal, says Brian Lawrence, project leader for GE's Holographic Data Storage Program.

Current discs work in a similar manner, but they encode data in pits etched into a one-micron-thin layer of metal such as aluminum. But CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray discs just scratch the surface of data storage, literally and figuratively. "In these previous three generations, plastic acts as an inert carrier for the data that sits in a thin layer of metal, while in our method the plastic becomes the storage medium itself," says Lawrence.

The products that GE plans to sell based on the technology -- starting in 2012 -- will work in devices similar to current disc readers, allowing buyers to still access and play their old albums, movies, and other media. Crucially, at least from a cost perspective, GE says the new discs will also be manufactured using the same molded plastic technique that's currently used for making discs.

GE plans to target the commercial archiving sector first, including medical and financial institutions that keep records around for decades. Today, most archival data is kept on old-school magnetic tape, like that found in the cassettes that fill bins at used record stores. Magnetic tape has a lifetime of only about 20 years, says Lawrence. "Companies nowadays have to have a 'refresh' strategy -- before the 20 years is up, they have to copy their data to another medium," he says. CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs similarly break down in about a decade, as their metal data-storing layer corrodes, making them unreadable. Comparatively, Lawrence expects the new holo-discs to safely store info for 50 to 100 years, in part because plastic does not degrade much (just ask environmentalists).

As for the consumer market, the possibility of squeezing 100 movies (with bonus features) onto a single disc could free up some of the shelf space that the movie or CD library used to occupy -- and you could take it all on the go. The discs could also appeal to individuals who rack up reams of digital data, from Facebook-ready pics to personal video and audio recordings.

The micro-holographic disc is a culmination of a six-year effort by GE, though researchers have pursued holographic storage technology in some form since the early 1960s. In ever-upping the storage ante, Lawrence says GE is gunning for a micro-holographic disc that can hold twice as much as the current prototype -- a full terabyte.

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 07:03 AM
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Very interesting Harry, and I thought that Blue Ray was set to be good for at least 10 years

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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Word has been out for quite some time Nicolas that Blue Ray was only a temporary fill in as far better technology was being developed.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 08:20 AM
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HI Guys

Just a note Blue Ray has been out for about 4 to 5 years, the next thing is the chip to take the data out of the hands of the end user..no finger prints on the data so to speak.. ( I Pod tech stuff coming)


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Word has been out for quite some time Nicolas that Blue Ray was only a temporary fill in as far better technology was being developed.



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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 10:01 AM
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Geeze-O-Whizz!!
I feel like an 1800s woodworker stepping in to a commercial, fully automated cabinet manufacturing plant.
I don't even understand what Blue Ray is all about and, now it is becoming obsolete.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Very interesting Harry, and I thought that Blue Ray was set to be good for at least 10 years
With today's advancements in technology most things don't last a year now much less 10.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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"Just a note Blue Ray has been out for about 4 to 5 years, the next thing is the chip to take the data out of the hands of the end user..no finger prints on the data so to speak.. ( I Pod tech stuff coming)


You're a little out on when Blue Ray was introduced Bj, the first BR movies were released in October 2006. As for solid state memory, yes, that's improving by the week, but here we're talking about 500gigs of storage, thumb drives have a way to go yet (I think)

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-26-2009, 12:34 AM
 
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i just hope theyre a bit more durable than blu-ray. i have lost 2 films due to minor scratches...damn cats...
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-26-2009, 08:20 AM Thread Starter
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As BJ mentioned, solid state memory is, I think, the way it will end up, eventually.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-26-2009, 08:38 AM
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I miss those 5 1/4" floppy disks. Single sided of course.

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