Wednesday, April 29th 2009

GE Breakthrough Validates Technology to Enable 500-Gigabyte Disc

GE Global Research, the technology development arm of the General Electric Company, today announced a major breakthrough in the development of next generation optical storage technology. GE researchers have successfully demonstrated a threshold micro-holographic storage material that can support 500 gigabytes of storage capacity in a standard DVD-size disc. This is equal to the capacity of 20 single-layer Blu-ray discs, 100 DVDs or the hard drive for a large desktop computer.

GE’s micro-holographic discs will be able to be read and recorded on systems very similar to a typical Blu-ray or DVD player. Holographic storage is different from today’s optical storage formats like DVDs and Blu-ray discs. DVDs and Blu-ray discs store information only on the surface of the disc; holographic storage technology uses the entire volume of the disc material. Holograms, or three-dimensional patterns that represent bits of information, are written into the disc and can then be read out. Although GE’s holographic storage technology represents a breakthrough in capacity, the hardware and formats are so similar to current optical storage technology that the micro-holographic players will enable consumers to play back their CDs, DVDs and BDs.

The GE team successfully recorded micro-holographic marks approaching one percent reflectivity with a diameter of approximately one micron. When using standard DVD or Blu-ray disc optics, the scaled down marks will have sufficient reflectivity to enable over 500 GB of total capacity in a CD-size disc.

“GE’s breakthrough is a huge step toward bringing our next generation holographic storage technology to the everyday consumer,” said Brian Lawrence, who leads GE’s Holographic Storage program. “Because GE’s micro-holographic discs could essentially be read and played using similar optics to those found in standard Blu-ray players, our technology will pave the way for cost-effective, robust and reliable holographic drives that could be in every home. The day when you can store your entire high definition movie collection on one disc and support high resolution formats like 3-D television is closer than you think.”

GE has been working on holographic storage technology for over six years. The demonstration of materials that can support 500 gigabytes of capacity represents a major milestone in making micro-holographic discs that ultimately can store more than one terabyte, or 1,000 gigabytes of data. In addition to pushing the limits of storage capacity, GE researchers also have been very focused on making the technology easily adaptable to existing optical storage formats and manufacturing techniques.

“GE’s holographic storage program has turned the corner, and with this milestone we can now intensify our efforts in commercialization opportunities,” said Bill Kernick, who leads GE’s Technology Ventures team. “We’ll continue to engage with a variety of strategic partners to create the best route from product development to introduction into the marketplace.”

GE initially will be focusing on the commercial archival industry followed by the consumer market for its micro-holographic storage technology.Source: GE
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20 Comments on GE Breakthrough Validates Technology to Enable 500-Gigabyte Disc

#1
happita
That's just great. I love GE and always have. Their growth in the knowledge of technology has surely benefited people throughout the world. For example, a company used an older technique in technology, whereas now a newer one is more efficient in doing what it was meant to do. I'm sure GE contributes to that kind of purpose and instills it in others to be more creative in their thinking.
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#2
h3llb3nd4
awesome! But I thought that it can hold up to 4 Tbs...:wtf:
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#3
3870x2
yeah, but this will be butting heads with flash memory. Flash is already out and able to attain amazing capacities in a thumb sized drive. I have a feeling that the world will be moving to things like flash and internal storage (IE downloadable content like the DSi or PSP2 or, currently, Iphone/Itouch) It could very possibly be that optical drives have met their end. GE came up with an amazing technology a really bad time, not what blu-ray is the norm and the current path.
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#4
tomkaten
Not a year comes by without one company or another promoting their "breakthroughs" in removable optical storage. What makes this announcement any different from all the others that never panned out ?

Not to be a nihilist here, but I'll believe it when I see it in stores, at a starting price that doesn't compete with a V8 BMW. :)
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#5
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
How fast is the read/write performance though? I can't see people using these unless they offer something major over platters.

GE is in need of good news though so the sooner they get something revolutionary with vast market impact to market, the more likely investors are going to buy up shares.
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#6
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
Yeah GE has its hands in everything, take it from someone who has worked for them for a few years. This looks very promising. Believe it or not, Optical Storage and the like is still a huge market.
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#7
HellasVagabond
If each disk costs 50$ or more i'd rather stick with HDDs.
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#8
BazookaJoe
Official Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXrJgXYq0Bk

Will somebody please tell me how these GENIUSES managed to come to the value of 125 Mb as the total accumulation of a human brains entire lifetime of memory?

No jokes - they clearly try and state that 500GB is approx. 4000 times the amount of information that a human brain will store in a life time.

What idiot amongst them came to the honest conclusion that a human brain is = 125Mb???

.. how would you even begin to quantify this statement?

If "DOLLHOUSE" has taught us ANYTHING, a human brain is at LEAST 1 full generic non-descript removable hard drive worth of data.

Assuming they are speaking for themselves, one can also assume not to see an end user product any time soon...
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#9
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: BazookaJoe
Official Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXrJgXYq0Bk

Will somebody please tell me how these GENIUSES managed to come to the value of 125 Mb as the total accumulation of a human brains entire lifetime of memory?

No jokes - they clearly try and state that 500GB is approx. 4000 times the amount of information that a human brain will store in a life time.

What idiot amongst them came to the honest conclusion that a human brain is = 125Mb???

.. how would you even begin to quantify this statement?

If "DOLLHOUSE" has taught us ANYTHING, a human brain is at LEAST 1 full generic non-descript removable hard drive worth of data.

Assuming they are speaking for themselves, one can also assume not to see an end user product any time soon...
Hitachi feels it's 10 TB : http://www.techpowerup.com/?64743

Anyway, we cannot call the brain a storage medium, it's more like volatile random-access memory.
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#10
BOSE
This will drive the HDD pricing further down once it hits the consumer market.
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#11
daragez
that's awesome.....GE is great. thanks for the news...
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#12
OnionMan
by: BazookaJoe
Will somebody please tell me how these GENIUSES managed to come to the value of 125 Mb as the total accumulation of a human brains entire lifetime of memory?

No jokes - they clearly try and state that 500GB is approx. 4000 times the amount of information that a human brain will store in a life time...
We have better compression..;)


I see no future for this product.. It's neat that they can do it, but I'd bet read/write times aren't great.. Plus it's probably no more resistant to scratches than a normal DVD, so 500Gb of info could be gone in one little scratch..
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#13
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
by: btarunr
Hitachi feels it's 10 TB : http://www.techpowerup.com/?64743

Anyway, we cannot call the brain a storage medium, it's more like volatile random-access memory.
They're both wrong. The brain works on analog, cellular cicuitry while everything about a bit/byte is digital. Whenever you convert from analog to digital, you are losing an infinite amount of data. As such, the equation is not solvable.

A picture is worth a thousand words...
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#14
my_name_is_earl
Wow, imagine how slow it is to write data on the disc not to mention read. Rewritable? If not no ty.
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#15
Woody112
So when are we going to have a multi optic drive. Meaning more than one lens used to read and write. If their was ever a need for one this would be it.
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#16
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
by: my_name_is_earl
Wow, imagine how slow it is to write data on the disc not to mention read. Rewritable? If not no ty.
They will have advanced writing technologies to make it less boring. Hopefully.

Now I don't want to be hasty but hurry up I want a 500gb cd for permanent backup.
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#17
Woody112
by: DrPepper
They will have advanced writing technologies to make it less boring. Hopefully.

Now I don't want to be hasty but hurry up I want a 500gb cd for permanent backup.
Exactly!!! Now all I want is my 1TB notbook HDD:D or SSD which ever comes first.
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#18
Steevo
by: FordGT90Concept
They're both wrong. The brain works on analog, cellular cicuitry while everything about a bit/byte is digital. Whenever you convert from analog to digital, you are losing an infinite amount of data. As such, the equation is not solvable.

A picture is worth a thousand words...
Plus the neural pathways are more than just storage, they are the processor medium.


I can close my eyes and remember tastes, sensations, how things feel, being warm or cold. As well as a sence of balance deveolped in 12 months from birth allowing me to become bipedal mobile. Now I can perfrom multiple tasks at once, without thinking about them too much.


Huge difference.
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#19
BazookaJoe
WE'VE ALL MISSED THE POINT!!!!!!! ... even me...

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/01/07/ces_shxc_format_launched/

Edit : Official Site : http://www.sdcard.org/developers/tech/sdxc

Edit : SDXC In The Wild : http://www.techpowerup.com/87073/CeBIT_2009_Pretec_SDXC_Pops_Up.html

Remember SDXC? the presently 2Tb supporting format that reads and writes already plenty fast, and only gets faster with every version?

And is also MUCH MUCH smaller in physical size and requires massively less power to operate, and a reader device less than 1/20'th the size of an optical disk drive - And has no moving parts to fail or lens to get dirty - And is fully random read/write ?

That already exists... TODAY? (YES we all know you don't actually GET 2Tb chips yet - but they are within the range of the spec, and every other SD spec has already matched, and exceeded their format limit to date, on both storage capacity AND speed)

Imagine where this technology will be by the time this CONCEPTUAL nonsense by GE even makes it to an end user product - in what 5 , 6 years? it took almost that long for HDDVD / Blu-Ray to make it to the market...

This product was clearly conceptualized by their same brain capacity metering department - you need to come in a LOT more impressive than 500GB to make an impression this late in the game.

Just look at how fast & far SSD's have come already, where will THEY be in 5years?

Edit : I do still feel the appeal of "Non Volatile" / "Permanent" storage as a backup medium.. But I just don see this product hitting the mark, by the time it gets launched there will be so many other options at we can be sure such better prices, I'd personally just start going for a completely redundant set of drives via raid or whatever we are using by then. Even if I'm just using SDXC for backup - SD memory is pretty damn reliable as a long term storage, its only down side in the past has been capacity.
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#20
DaMulta
My stars went supernova
I like the idea of the credit card holographic disc better!

Like those old TG-16 games, you could just stick them in your pocket/wallet.

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