In Pictures: Upcoming Technologies We Want Right Now
Holographic Data Storage
Holographic data storage involves a different approach compared to today's standard disk- and flash-based processes, recording data throughout the volume of a thick, photosensitive optical material. Once perfected, this method could allow for recording multiple images--perhaps thousands--in the same space by placing the laser at different angles.
For recording, the laser is split into a reference and a data-carrying beam. The latter essentially picks up information arranged in a checkerboard pattern as it passes through a spatial light modulator. It then interferes with the reference beam through the material, storing the data. A good explanation of how holographic data is manipulated can be found here, at Lucent Technologies' Bell Laboratories Web site.