General Electric Develops a 500GB Optical Disc

Apr 27, 2009 by John Messina weblog
500 GB Micro-holographic discs

(PhysOrg.com) -- G.E. has unveiled a 500 GB micro-holographic disc that is the same size as existing DVD's. The storage capacity is equivalent to 100 DVD's and is aimed at the archive industry but eventually can be used in the consumer market place.

Micro-holographic discs have a larger than DVDs or Blu-ray because they store information on the disc in three dimensions, rather than just pits on the surface of the disc.

G.E. has recently made dramatic improvements in the material that significantly increases the amount of light that can be reflected by the holograms. By increasing the reflectivity of the disc you increase the storage capacity. This will enable players to be built which are backwards compatible with existing DVD and Blu-ray technologies.

In a statement, from G.E.: "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 Blu-ray ."

G.E. also added: "the day when you can store your entire high definition movie collection on one disc and support formats like 3D television is closer than you think.'' GE will need to work with hardware manufacturers to bring the technology to the consumer market.

Micro-holographic technology is truly a breakthrough in the development of the materials that are so critical to ultimately bringing holographic storage to the everyday consumer.

General Electric's first priority will be to target the technology to commercial markets like television networks, movie studios, medical field and hospitals for holding data-intensive images. However selling to the broader corporate and consumer market is the larger goal.

© 2009 PhysOrg.com

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User comments : 12

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LuckyBrandon
5 / 5 (1) Apr 27, 2009
You know, I had shot someone down about holographic storage not long ago, as some of you may have seen. I did that because when thinking of holographic storage, I was not putting the thought forward of holograhic on a disk.
Consider this my official apology to that person :)
Fazer
not rated yet Apr 27, 2009
That is very decent of you, Lucky, but why do we need more physical/mechanical storage systems? My money is on everything going electronic, spintronic, etc.

Buy movies online, store them on flash memory or something equivalent. No more moving parts!!!
MorituriMax
not rated yet Apr 27, 2009
I'll go with whatever lets me backup my 4 1TB drives without needing stacks of dvd's. And that backup should last virtually forever or until I die, whichever comes first.. heh
LuckyBrandon
not rated yet Apr 27, 2009
Fazer-the storage future is crystal clear, meaning, crystal storage. I have also heard of virus based storage devices in the works, although, I am not a fan of giving a breeding ground to a virus that may not be harmful at first, but giving it a specific environment is bound to equate to evolution where it may become dangerous to living, or even machine based, entities.

Morituri-your answer is simple, 6TB of backup disks to encompass a growing data store :) But I agree....but I think it should go beyond your lifetime. I fully expect we should be able to store data until the end of known spacetime (the big crunch in other words, if it exists). Crystals are the way to do that....
dirk_bruere
not rated yet Apr 27, 2009
I'll go with whatever lets me backup my 4 1TB drives without needing stacks of dvd's. And that backup should last virtually forever or until I die, whichever comes first.. heh


All this tech is playing catchup. The only backup is another identical memory system the same size. Apart from that SSDs are only lagging by about 5 years. All these rotating disc backups look like they might go the way of the floppy disc when flash sticks arrived.

dse471
not rated yet Apr 27, 2009
All this tech is playing catchup. The only backup is another identical memory system the same size. Apart from that SSDs are only lagging by about 5 years. All these rotating disc backups look like they might go the way of the floppy disc when flash sticks arrived.





Consider that 4000 MB of flash memory costs as much as *a hundred* 4700 MB DVD-Rs (good quality DVD-Rs; Taiyo Yuden). I doubt that DVDs will get much cheaper; however, I would make the prediction that if these discs were to hit mainstream, they would eventually drop to similar prices (CD-Rs did, DVDs did; it's not unreasonable to think that these would be no different). The one thing that optical media has going for it is that it is quite less complex than flash memory; less complex usually means cheaper.
Soylent
not rated yet Apr 27, 2009
Consider that 4000 MB of flash memory costs as much as *a hundred* 4700 MB DVD-Rs (good quality DVD-Rs; Taiyo Yuden).


I can buy a 4 GB USB flash memory stick for $8, were are you finding these 8 cent DVDs?
h0dges
not rated yet Apr 28, 2009
You guys are forgetting that optical discs (if I recall) have one of the longest data retention times. You are all thinking in the here-and-now but there are BIG problems in the midst in terms of effectively storing the colossal amount of data we are generating for the future.
Soylent
not rated yet Apr 28, 2009
You guys are forgetting that optical discs (if I recall) have one of the longest data retention times.


Optical discs have a sensitive foil layer susceptible to scratches if not handled carefully, flash is sturdier.

Flash memory has a retention time generally recognize to be in the 10 to 100 year range.

You are all thinking in the here-and-now but there are BIG problems in the midst in terms of effectively storing the colossal amount of data we are generating for the future.


Since the cost of storage keeps exponentially decaying towards zero with a "half-life" of about 2 years, any amount of data generated on past devices will tend to look small.

Anything that's worth storing forever is of enough interest that just unleashing it to the public will assure that it is permanently preserved on thousands of computers around the world.

See the explosion of emulators and roms for old games and music generated on obsolete computer systems; nothing short of a global nuclear exchange will destroy it because there are enough hosts for the files and they have a self-interest in their continued preservation, spread and use.

The doom and quake source codes are immortalized by the fact that ID released them and there are plenty of people with an interest in tinkering with, archiving or studying them.
Hephaestoskin
not rated yet Apr 30, 2009
I believe the greatest impact of this specific technology will be on the Gaming market. Game manufacturers are constantly complaining about the current storage formats as being too limited for substantial, interesting games. I have noticed that the graphics get better, and the plot lines tend to become shorter. Having a substantial increase in storage capacity, while retaining the ability to utilize the media of older gaming systems, would be of great interest in that market.
Fazer
not rated yet May 02, 2009
Good point, Heph, and yet several companies are looking into cloud computing. They want to run the games on big servers and stream the resulting imagery to devices that could not otherwise support the games. You'd control the game from your phone, PC or even a game console, but most of the processing would take place at the data center.

If it does go that way, not only with games, but with other software as well, then the end users won't have much need for bulk storage.

I just think that 500GB is pocket change compared to the other media that would be avaialable by the time this came to market. It would be interesting to see how far they could push the capacity.

BTW, crystals sound great, Lucky, but when do you expect to have a product ready? ;)
Soylent
not rated yet May 04, 2009
I believe the greatest impact of this specific technology will be on the Gaming market. Game manufacturers are constantly complaining about the current storage formats as being too limited for substantial, interesting games.


I've never seen game developers complain about storage limits.

I have noticed that the graphics get better, and the plot lines tend to become shorter.


It used to take just 1-2 years to develop an AAA title such as half-life. Now it takes half a decade with a team 10 times the size.

You won't see many innovative games anymore, because it's a too big risk to take in an already risky market. The golden era of innovative and deep gameplay was the 1980's, when it was still possible for a couple of random people to make a world class title in their spare time.