G.E. Develops Holographic Discs That can Hold 100 DVDs

April 27, 2009

(ChattahBox)—G.E. researchers plan to announce on Monday, its new breakthrough in holographic storage that may turn Blu-ray on its ears. G.E.’s new holographic discs are capable of storing the equivalent of 100 DVDs or 500 gigabytes of data. Blu-ray’s largest disc to date only holds 50-gigabytes, with its standard disc storing just 5 gigabytes. Although, in early development stages, not yet ready for prime-time, G.E.’s holographic disc technology holds great promise for the future of digital storage.

Many people are aware of holographic technology as an optical process that stores and displays three-dimensional images, like those seen in sci-fi movies. The most famous use being Princess Lea’s holographic appeal for help uttering the now famous line from the first Star Wars movie: “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope.” However, holographic technology can also hold standard units of data.

Lead G.E. researcher, Brian Lawrence, adapted current holographic technology to make the new disc readable in standard Blu-ray devices. Researchers broke up the holograms into micro-segments, placing them across the whole surface of a disc. The result is that they became readable in any machine that works with microholographic storage.

Previous holographic technology wasn’t considered feasible for commercial use. The discs would have to be etched with a precise pattern of laser marks across the surface of the disc, not making it practical for high capacity data storage.

G.E. found a way to shrink and break up the holographic etchings, allowing them to refract light patterns when read by a laser device, retrieving and deciphering the data.

The next task for G.E. will involve making the new holographic data storage commercially marketable to the public at an affordable price. The company expects to first market the high-storage discs to corporate customers, such as movie studios, television networks, and hospitals. The new discs would be capable of storing Hollywood movies and medical data like and brain scans.

G.E. expects the economies of scale to kick in once the company starts mass producing the discs. The mass production of the holographic discs are at least two years away, say G.E. executives. The price for holographic storage is expected to eventually fall to less than 10 cents a gigabyte, with a further reduction in price expected in the future.

G.E. plans to formally present its research findings together with a prototype disc at an optical data storage conference in Orlando in May.



One Response to “G.E. Develops Holographic Discs That can Hold 100 DVDs”

  1. Old Man Dotes on April 27th, 2009 9:54 am

    Want! I have many large USB drives that store data I will never need to change. These disks are perfect for that!

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