Coming soon: Holographic storage

EMILY PRICE
Last updated 05:00 18/04/2012
Holograms
HOLOGRAPHIC STORAGE: A revived concept that promises more reliable, lasting media storage.

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This post was originally published on Mashable.

Holographic storage, once a pipe dream, may be headed to the market soon. A company called HVault has plans to turn the high-tech concept into reality this year.

In most cases, holographic storage is a write once, read many times data archival technique. Unlike other types of storage, holographic storage uses a photosensitive medium similar to film to store 3D images that represent data.

Data is stored and read by two lasers: a reference beam and a signal beam. A signal beam is controlled based on the data being written, while a reference beam remembers where data is being recorded.

When data is read, the reference beam is shot at the proper location, which creates a hologram that's read by a sensor similar to those found in digital cameras.

The technology was introduced as a prototype at 2005′s National Association of Broadcasters convention. It was shown off by InPhase Technologies, which ran out of money five years later after spending $US100 million in holographic storage research and development. HVault purchased InPhase's assets, and the tech is once again ready to make a debut.

So, what's the advantage of holographic storage? Shelf life, for one. Data can be stored in holographic form for more than 50 years without any loss of quality providing a better back-up solution than CDs, DVDs and tapes. According to the National Archives, CDs and DVDs only have a life expectancy of two to five years.

Holographic storage is also expected to be able to store a substantial amount of data - four gigabits per cubic millimeter - making digital storage more efficient. It's also impervious to magnetic fields, static electricity, dust, temperature, humidity and physical tampering.

Mashable is the largest independent news source covering digital culture, social media and technology.

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