Although sales of physical media seem to be creeping ever downward as consumers become more intimately familiarly with digital devices, there are a number of reasons why companies or individuals might require high-density storage. For them, GE is continuing its work in holographic storage – today’s announcement signals a whopping 500GB of data per disc. Impressive by any metric.
We hear holograms being bandied about relatively often in the computer world, and this isn’t the first time a company has stepped to announce some achievement whose results border on the ludicrous. The new technology works by inscribing small holograms into the discs’ plastic substrate, which can then be selectively erased via lasers (which operate on Blu-ray wavelengths).
Although the capacity is not terribly new when it comes to holographic storage, the speed at which users can operate the new discs is – GE is claiming write speeds similar to Blu-ray discs. That means something between 4 and 5 Megabytes per second; at 500GB, that would be a write time of a little over a day. Not super useful for the typical consumer.
Typical consumers likely won’t ever use these discs, however, as the company plans to market them in scenarios that require robust, high-density storage and archival plans. Robust, they are, too; GE claims a whopping 100 year lifespan, should the discs be kept in “ideal” conditions.
The technology is likely to be expensive, but again, given the high stakes settings that will employ them, they could be very valuable indeed. Unlike many holographic storage technologies we see rise out of the murky depths, this one actually has plans to come to market. GE is reportedly working with interested third parties to license the tech and bring products to bear within the next year.