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.
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