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Monday, October 4, 1999 Published at 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK


New era in data storage promised

140GB on a read-only disk

The US firm C3D Inc showcased new technology on Monday which it claimed would revolutionise the storage capacities of computer discs and smart cards.

The firm presented fully-working prototypes of a 140 Gigabyte, read-only disc and a 10 Gigabyte, read-only card.

[ image: Drives will be backwards-compatible]
Drives will be backwards-compatible
C3D is looking for partners to develop the technology and hopes to have commercial products available within 12 months.

The patented technology uses the properties of fluorescent incoherent light - light in which the waves are out of step. This allows up to 10 layers of information to be read at once.

This is a substantial step forward on current optical storage technologies. A 120mm digital versatile disk (DVD) holds about 4.7GB of information on one of its two sides, or enough for a two-hour movie. With two layers on each of its two sides, the capacity of a DVD can be pushed up to about 17GB of video, audio, or other information.

The older CD-ROM will hold just 650 MB.

Consumer applications

"This technology will spawn a whole new breed of data storage-intensive information appliances capable of replicating today's PC functionality on a palm-sized PDA (personal digital assistant) or mobile phone," claimed C3D Chief Executive Dr Eugene Levich, who launched the technology at the company's design Lab in Rehovoth, Israel.

[ image: C3D is looking for strategic partners]
C3D is looking for strategic partners
"The advent of high speed Internet downloading capability and the arrival of consumer devices such as High Definition TV (requiring up to 7.5GB per hour recorded), personal VCRs and the e-Book underline the exponential increase in demand for media with multi-Gigabyte storage capacity."

Dr Levich said the new Fluorescent Multi-layer Disk (FMD) drives would all be backwards-compatible, allowing consumers to play their old disks.

C3D plans to start pilot production of:

  • a 10-layer FMD-ROM disk in the standard 120mm (CD & DVD) disk format having up to140GB capacity;
  • a 20-layer FMC ClearCard-ROM in the form of a credit card having up to 10GB capacity; and
  • a 10-layer FMC ClearCard-WORM (Write Once Read Many) in the form of a credit card having up to 1GB capacity.

The company claimed second and third generation cards and disks would have capacities up to and exceeding 1 Terabyte (1,000 Gigabytes). RAM versions of the disk and card are also planned.

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