GE's Holographic Storage to Yield 500 GB Discs

Current technology sees pits and grooves imprinted onto a polycarbonate material and are read with a laser to create your bog standard CD or DVD. Advancements from CDs to DVDs to new blue laser optical formats use shorter wavelength lasers to read smaller marks, meaning you can fit more data onto a single disc. GE says this is all about to change. The company said Monday that it is abandoning the "pits and grooves" approach to storing data and instead is working on 3D volumetric holographic storage technology that will use the entire disc for storage as opposed to just the surface.

According to the New York Times, GE has been working on holographic storage technology for more than six years and a crucial challenge for the team, has been finding the materials and techniques so that smaller holograms reflect enough light for their data patterns to be detected and retrieved.

The NYT reports that a recent breakthrough by the team sees a 200-fold increase in the reflective power of their holograms, putting them at the bottom range of light reflections readable by current Blu-ray machines.

It all sounds really cool, but it also sounds really expensive. Apparently not. GE says that when Blu-ray was introduced it was roughly $1/GB. The company expects that when they are introduced (2011 or 2012), holographic discs using its technology will be less than 10 cents/GB, with that price set to fall in the future.

Check out the full report on the New York Times as well as GE’s article on holographic data storage for more.

  • the_one111
    Interesting to say the least.

    However, I still do not see how something like this won't be pricey.

    ....Maybe the extra 90 cents will be found in the readers for these?
  • pug_s
    Hard drive platters now store 500gb each.
  • A Stoner
    Put the meat on the table. We hear all about all these great next generation storage solutions and they end up being pretty small potatoes and no where near enough meat to satisfy the consumer.

    Blu-Ray blows, no one is buying the over priced players, and the over priced media. At first it could have been due to the fact that they had compitition and everyone knew someone had to lose, so why buy into a possibly dead format. Now there is no excuse other than the fact that Blu Ray does not deliver what the consumer wants.

    This could be great, or it could be HD-DVD. In the end what consumers of this type of media want is the ability to back up their information securely and at a low cost. That means speed, that means the disc has to survive for a long time before degrading to unusable, and that means low cost hardware to use it in. No chance in hell of movie studios using this large of a format, it is already apparent that they refuse to use even Blu Ray, because the cost for converting to a high defintion is too much for them to spend, unless it is a new release of course. They are afraid that high quality media releases will be pirated, thus a movie that has 500GB of data scares them to death. They will also fight tooth and nail til the death to prevent the release of this media, because then pirating by way of disc will become a bigger problem again, where they are trying to kill ISP bandwidth to prevent pirating as well as ligitimate transfers of information, they will not allow a new format that can hold 20 of their precious movies in pure form, or 50 to 100 in a compressed form.

    Hope I am wrong, but as I said at the beginning, put the meat on the table and let us taste it, until then, it is nothing.
  • daft

    just a little something i found over a year ago
  • scryer_360
    Hmmm, if this works it could keep physical storage media in the market for some time. Yes HDD's just hit 500 gigs a platter, but you can't hot swap hdds like you can discs into a player. All the better then if GE can get this working in existing Blu-Ray players.

    Could the same technology be applied to a hdd platter in some way? Because if discs just went (well, will go) from 25 gigs a layer (BD single layer) to 500 gigs, that is a 20 fold increase. Anyone else thinking 50 terabyte platters in a HDD?
  • chise1
    I hope that they come up with a good solution to excessive burn times... Imagine how long it'd take to put 500 gb onto one disk!
  • hellwig
    If it can hit a resonable price, it could be worth it. However, a 16-layer Bluray disk can store 400GB (and apparently they're working on a 1TB Bluray disk). No you can't buy them in a store, but you can't buy a Holographic disk or read/writer either. Couple in the fact that they are aiming Holographic Disks at the storage market, and not the consumer market, and this technology probably won't make it very far. It will sit on the shelf with all those multi-thousand dollar tape drives and hundred dollar tape cassettes already being used for storage.
  • antilycus
    at 10 cents per GB, thats still 50, bucks a disc....

    I would see the future in Memory Card or Bar Codes... the 2D Barcode on teh back of your license holds, 80 GB... Yes I am serious and yes I am right.
  • aalkema
    Antilycusat 10 cents per GB, thats still 50, bucks a disc....I would see the future in Memory Card or Bar Codes... the 2D Barcode on teh back of your license holds, 80 GB... Yes I am serious and yes I am right.
    80gb? I'm pretty sure barcodes hold on the order of bytes, not gigabytes. Where did you hear that from?
  • vgdarkstar
    Antilycusat 10 cents per GB, thats still 50, bucks a disc....I would see the future in Memory Card or Bar Codes... the 2D Barcode on teh back of your license holds, 80 GB... Yes I am serious and yes I am right.
    Um, no... just no