Storage company Iomega has gained a patent for a new optical storage method that could boost DVD storage a hundred fold. The patent outlines using "nano-scale ridges" to up disc capacity:
The next generation of DVDs can hold almost 10 times as much data [as current DVDs], using light with a shorter wavelength to read even smaller surface features. Two standards that use this principle are currently vying for market adoption - HD-DVD, created by Toshiba, NEC and Sanyo, and Blu-Ray Disc, from Sony.
However, Iomega's proposed technology, dubbed Articulated Optical Digital Versatile Disc (AO-DVD), could boost disc capacity further still. Sub-wavelength surface bumps on an AO-DVD would slope at slightly different angles - this could be used to encode up to 100 times more information.
The angles would be detected by analysing light after it had bounced off several ridges - calculating which combination of slopes would have produced the result.
Current DVDs can hold a maximum of 8.5 gigabytes - 8.5 billion bytes - of data, so an AO-DVD could theoretically hold more than 800 gigabytes. This is close to a terabyte and well beyond the capacity of most modern computer hard drives. Iomega claims the technique could also improve data transfer rates by a factor of 30.
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It's a great bit of technology, to be sure - but conscious of the 'we'll never need more than a megabyte of memory' and 'The no one will ever want a personal computer' gaffs of past years, who exactly will need removable storage that holds nearly a terabyte of info? I can see it being useful for corporate backups and archival purposes, but the average Joe doesn't need that much space. Or do they? I mean, sure, you could easily fill it up with all sorts of content, but when would you find the time to view / listen to / use said content...
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