Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Holographic Storage Technology

OPTWARE IS SET TO be the first company to have its holographic storage technology approved by an international standards body. The company's president, Yoshio Aoki, claimed that the company was working with Ecma International to have its specifications finalized.

HOLOGRAPHIC STORAGE TECHNOLOGY (If you cannot see this image in your browser, please click the refresh button.)
Optware is developing a technology that enables the storage of between 100GB and 1TB of data, with data transmission speeds of 100Mbit/s to 1Gbit/s on discs that are the same diameter as today's CDs and DVDs.
The company also plans to develop a credit card form factor with a capacity of 30GB which will be commercialized after June 2006.

Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) cartridges with 200GB of capacity per cartridge and the credit card-sized Holographic Versatile Card (HVC) version will be finalized by the committee by the end of June 2006. Specifications for 100GB HVD discs and cases for HVD read-only discs will be finished by the end of December 2006, he said.

The announcement comes the same day as InPhase Technologies', which is developing a rival holographic storage technology, said it plans to ship its first holographic drives by the end of 2006. InPhase is demonstrating its first fully functioning prototype of its Tapestry holographic drive at the 2005 Storage Visions conference in Las Vegas this week.

InPhase's holographic storage media stores data in three-dimensional holograms cut into a polymer material on 13-centimeter discs. The first drives will have a 20Mbit/s data transfer rate, according to the company.

First products using Optware's technology will be the reader/writer devices and the 200GB cartridge-type HVDs for enterprise users. These will be on the market after June 2006, said Yasuhide Kageyama, manager of business development and marketing at Yokohama-based Optware.

Note from DC: The less expensive 100GB discs aimed at home consumers will be on the market as soon as 2007. The company has already signed contracts with one optical disc maker to mass produce HVDs after the specifications are finalized.

New Wireless Concept: Direct2Data

PARKERVISION, INC., OF FLORIDA, this month announced a new line of efficient, high-performance, low-cost wireless chips.

NEW CHIP (If you cannot see this image in your browser, please click the refresh button.)
I thought I understood the process of getting information into and out of a radio signal since I got my first ham radio license 35 years ago. No longer. ParkerVision's concept is quite different from the prevailing approach that treats the radio "carrier" and the information components as separate things, like a container and its contents. Their core concept is what the company calls Direct2Data, describing its method as the extracting of data content from a modulated radio signal directly by sampling the energy of that signal.
Further discussion of actual benefit requires the use of decibels, a logarithmic measure of power ratios. What happens if you improve the performance of a radio circuit by 21 dB? Radio signal strength falls off with the square of distance, meaning that a doubling of distance results in a fourfold loss of power at the receiver for a given transmitter and antenna configuration. That fourfold weakening is a strength reduction of about 6 dB. A 21 dB improvement would allow almost 3.5 doublings of distance, yielding a factor of an 11.2 increase in range.

Sure enough, the reputable Tom's Hardware site reports that with a ParkerVision access point and wireless card, "We were able to surf the Internet from the far corner of the parking lot, where before we could barely make it past the front door."

ParkerVision's latest initiative is its effort to transfer its energy-efficient innovations from the information-handling sections of radio gear into the power amplifiers as well.

What would it mean to improve the efficiency of a Wi-Fi transmitter's output stage from, say, 4 or 5 percent to the 40-plus percent that ParkerVision claims to be able to achieve? It means putting out a watt of radio energy with only a 2.5-watt load on the battery, compared with the 20 watts that you'd need to get the same output with the less efficient circuit.

Initially, the company claims a 50 to 80 percent power requirement reduction, or a twofold-to-fivefold improvement in the time that a device can be powered with a given amount of battery capacity. I'll take that, thanks.

Note from DC: Remember, it was also Niels Bohr who is said to have told a colleague, "We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct." ParkerVision's technology appears to be "crazy enough."