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IBM Patents Optical Disc With Embedded Flash Memory

The company imagined a next generation optical disc to integrate flash memory to enable stronger interaction features between content and the content consumer.

For those who remember, Toshiba conceded the HD battle to Sony on February 16, 2008 when it was clear that even $300 million marketing campaign could not help the format prevail. A month earlier, on January 18, 2008, IBM filed a patent application entitled "disk with embedded flash memory and disc drive", which addressed the lack of interactivity between the user and data in evolving content scenarios. For example, a game disc could directly store game progress on the disk, rather than on a game console, which would be rather handy when a game would be used in another console.

The idea was to embed flash memory near the center hole and add electrical contact to the opening, which would connect to contacts of a disk player. The patent also noted that the flash memory could be removed and inserted in another disk in the case the disk gets scratched and needs to be replaced. As neat as the idea was, as difficult may it have been to pitch it in 2008 when flash memory prices were still in a different universe and even small amounts of flash memory may have increased the cost of a media disk by a factor greater than 10x.

The patent frequently refers to HD DVD as an example recipient for the technology and this may be just one indication how old the idea really is. Could this disk succeed today? Unlikely. We are used to having our game data in the "cloud" and prefer accessing the data whenever and wherever we want, even if that is not always as convenient as it sounds. 

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  • pjmelect
    Why not instead of using flash memory simply make a small area of the disc R/W?
    Reply
  • pjmelect
    Why not instead of using flash memory simply make a small area of the disc R/W?

    Maybe I should patent this idea?
    Reply
  • freggo
    pjmelectWhy not instead of using flash memory simply make a small area of the disc R/W?
    prob too difficult to manufacture as the two types use different storage substrates.
    Reply
  • hannibal
    Indeed... Too expensive and pure flash would be better if and when? it would be possible to compete price wise with optical disk. And that can take many, many years...
    Reply
  • becomecooler
    Disks are a dying technology, cloud and DDL is IT. Don't flog this dying horse with the patent whip.
    Reply
  • CDs(and DVDs) have their place in history, but they are a dead tech. Time to let them die.

    Its been several years now since the last time i bought anything on a disc. Digital downloads for the win! And if you really want a physical copy, they should just stick it on a cheap USB flash drive.

    DVDs are just too slow and limited storage.

    Blueray, is just garbage in every sense. It's way too expensive, way too slow, and stuffed so full of DRM that it makes using them very annoying. Sticking a new blueray into your player and having it not work due to a new form of DRM has happened far too many times. Even when they work, they load way way too slow, and the interface locks you into watching all their previews and crap when all you want is the movie.

    Time for spinning disk media to just die.
    Reply
  • kronos_cornelius
    There goes at least $10,000 in filing fees !
    Reply
  • " And we currently backup all our data to 2 copies of blueray disks, for long term storage. Way more cost effective and accessible than anything else we could find. So disks are not going anywhere."

    Blueray for backups? Eww.....just buy a couple usb flash drives and backup to them, faster, easier. But the real reason to use flash drives instead is you don't have to worry about the cds delaminating and destroying all your data, the flash drives are going to last a hell of a lot longer. Blueray hasn't been out long enough to see how fast this will happen yet; however it happened FAR FAR sooner for rewritable cds then the companies advertised. I wouldnt trust it at all for long term storage.

    Sure USB flash drives cost more, but they are still cheap as hell. Like $10 for 16 gigs, $20 for 32 gigs.
    Reply
  • ram1009
    Who's used to having game data in a cloud? Not me.
    Reply
  • pjmelect
    Why not instead of using flash memory simply make a small area of the disc R/W?



    prob too difficult to manufacture as the two types use different storage substrates.

    Then why not simply make one layer R/W that way you can use existing DVD/ blue ray players. If they must go and use SSD then it would be better to use electromagnetic induction rather than contacts.

    I place all of my ideas published here in the public domain.
    The point is, is that they patent all sorts of silly ideas just in case someone tries to use it in a product.

    Here is another idea, why not provide a link or switch on a hard drive to securely delete the data on the hard drive including backup sectors?

    I can come up with ideas for patents like this until the cows come home, it maybe a good idea for Tomshardware to have a forum for people to post computer related ideas, which will be in the public domain and so stop companies from patenting them and stifling innovation in the computer industry.
    Reply