GE Global Research recently announced they are forging ahead with a project that could greatly increase the capacity for storage-on-disc technologies. Their plan is to distribute discs with 500 GB of holographic optical storage.
Current optical storage technologies like Blu-ray and DVD discs are only capable of storing information in the surface of the disc. By using holograms' three-dimensional patterns, information can be written and stored at controlled debts that utilize the disc's entire volume of storage space.
Think of these discs as being file cabinet holograms — really big ones.
Because they can make use of the material's entire storage space, GE says these micro-holographic discs have the storage capacity of 20 single-layer Blu-ray discs, 100 DVDs or the hard drive of most laptops.
"During the past two years, our research team has been focused on material improvements to increase the recording speed and making other key advances needed to ready GE’s micro-holographic technology for market,” said manager of the Applied Optics Lab at Global Research, Peter Lorraine, in a GE press release. "With a speed to match Blu-ray's, discs made from GE's advanced micro-holographic materials are an attractive solution for both archival and consumer entertainment systems."
Eventually, GE says they want to create micro-holographic discs that can store more than one terabyte, or 1,000 gigabytes of data.
Not everyone is so gung-ho. John Webster, a senior partner at market research firm the Evaluator Group recently told Computer World he was concerned about the price-performance ratio of optical storage technology.
"So they're going to try this again?" he said. "It wasn't the media, but all the machinery you need to make it work. At a price-per-gigabyte or -terabyte level, it just didn't make sense."
Back in 2007, InPhase Technologies developed the industry's first 300GB holographic optical disc, called the HDS-300R, and planned to sell them for $100 – $125 each.