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Iomega Patents 850GB DVD Nano-Technology 422

Posted by CmdrTaco
Mike writes "US Patent & Trademark Office recently issued a patent to Iomega Corp. for its work with nano-technology and optical data storage. New technology, called Articulated Optical - DVD will allow 40-100 times more data (upto 850 Gb) to be stored on a DVD with data transfer rates 5-30 times faster than today's DVDs, and at similarly low costs. AO - DVD is a novel technique of encoding data on the surface of a DVD by using reflective nano-structures to encode data in a highly multi-level format."
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Iomega Patents 850GB DVD Nano-Technology

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  • Cool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) * on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:13PM (#12635392)
    Corporate Data for small buisness on one Disk. Who needs tape anymore
    • Some stuff is just really important. I'd like a RAID-1 flash array with covered connectors for that.
    • Re:Cool (Score:2, Informative)

      Tape is Dead. Long Live Tape. CD's and DVD's are dashboard technology. They were designed to fit in your car radio (the CD's anyway). They have no protection from scratches, etc. and a fifty-cent piece of media insn't designed to hold your companies crown jewels. I once sold a backup solution to a company who decided to go with DVD's rather than tape for the cost of the media alone. Three months later someone moving the dvd platter dropped it on the way to the vault. The DVD's that hit the floor and
      • I think DVDs and CDs are a completely stupid design simply because of this. Why anyone would go from tape or floppy disk, to something as unprotected as a CD is beyond me. Are they ever going to switch to more robust. I know I'd be willing to pay a little extra for media if I didn't feel like one false move could render all my data useless.
        • Re:Cool (Score:3, Interesting)

          by lowrydr310 (830514)
          What about the old-school CD drives that required a protective caddy? These protected the disc from scratches.
      • Re:Cool (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gunnk (463227) <gunnk@@@mail...fpg...unc...edu> on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:33PM (#12635668) Homepage
        Have you ever dropped a DLT?

        Someone over in our Comp Sci department did that a few years ago. It looked okay, though, so it went back on the shelf.

        Next time they ran a restore from the tape it destroyed the DLT drive. Unfortunately, they thought the drive was the problem, not the tape, so they stuck the tape in a backup drive... oops.

        The example you gave also has a couple of others problems:

        1 - No matter what media you use you NEVER rely on one copy as the only copy of your data. If you do, it is NOT a BACKUP.

        2 - A DVD out of it's case is easy to scratch up. Of course, magnetic tape has a pretty short lifespan out of its case as well -- the difference is only that the tape goes into the drive CASE AND ALL. When you put your backup tape in a case you are really putting your tape + case into a second protective case. I've actually seen drives that do the same thing for optical disks. It's not a bad idea for critical backups.
      • Tapes have problems to if you doing backups like that. It is just as easy for the person who dropped the tape could have broken it off its track. And when put in to restore the data snap the tape. Or if you reuse tapes after a while the become corrupted and many times a companie doesn't realize it until it is to late. With DVDs at least you basicly write once and keep. Unlike write over with tapes. so you have a good library in a small space.
        10 years daily of data backups in DVDs could fit on 12 foot t
      • Buffing compound (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ka9dgx (72702) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:49PM (#12635865) Homepage Journal
        A good friend of mine does service for Auto Dealers. They had a similar situation with critical data on a CD. He took the CD, went out to the body shop, put some buffing compound on it, buffed it up, rinsed, and it was as good as new.

        Letting a company go out of business because they don't understand the basics of the technology speaks volumes about the loss of American Inginuity.

        --Mike--

      • Re:Cool (Score:5, Insightful)

        by /ASCII (86998) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:58PM (#12635991) Homepage
        Yeah, I've heard BS stories like that one before. I highly doubt the parent is a true story, and if it is, this should not reflect badly on the DVD format. It is simply a case of incompetence in putting all your eggs in one basket. The same thing could have happened to a tape, which is why important data should be stored in multiple copies at multiple places.
      • I call bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

        by autopr0n (534291) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @01:02PM (#12636045) Homepage Journal
        I once sold a backup solution to a company who decided to go with DVD's rather than tape for the cost of the media alone. Three months later someone moving the dvd platter dropped it on the way to the vault...a Company that had been in business 20 years was out of business because of one mistake and cheap media.

        If it was on the way to the vault, why didn't they just do anther backup? Why didn't they just restore from an older backup?

        Also, DVD's do have protection against scratches, the layer of accrylic covering the data layer. If that part gets scratched, it dosn't really matter, because the laser dosn't focus on that part. Scraches and imperfections 'dissapear' from the POV of the DVD player.

        They also put a lot of redundant data on the disk, so that if some of the bits are lost, the disk is still readable.
        • by alizard (107678) <alizardNO@SPAMecis.com> on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @06:42PM (#12639423) Homepage
          The NIST publication "Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs - A Guide for Librarians and Archivists" says CD-R has the soft acrylic layer under the label, data layer, and polycarbonate layer and DVDs have a polycarbonate layer on both sides with the data layer sandwiched inbetween.

          This is why CD-Rs are much more fragile than DVD-Rs.

    • That many buzzwords in the article significantly lowers my confidence in the value of the technology.
    • DVD's as backup (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phorm (591458) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:35PM (#12635689) Journal
      (some of these apply to tape as well)

      a) Burn times are a big factor here, sure 850GB is great... but not if it takes almost a day for a backup run. Current DVD burning is fairly fast though... so hopefully we get good speeds (5-30 times faster than today's DVDs sounds promising)

      b) If (a) works out well, and discs don't cost a crapload... you can burn multiple DVD's just in case of disc-rot. Store both in good conditions. Media is still subject to reliability, but many a company has relied on tapes as well only to find them demagnetized, etc at restore time (TEST those tapes, people).

      c) Storage space could be saved big-time with this, and a multi-disk burner could be fairly easy to setup too

      d) Tapes may not rot as easily, but DVD's don't get mad if you post 'em up using hard-drive magnets :-)
    • I'd be very surprised if writers for these were made any time soon after the media's release. To write one of these it sounds like you've got to lay down the nanotech bits appropriately to the data stored so that all the layers mesh together nicely. A machine to do said nanotech laying would probably be expensive and impracticaly for anything other than large runs - it's the same reason that people don't use highly reliable pressed DVDs for very small-scale production runs, and in this case it looks like th
  • Hey (Score:3, Funny)

    by macaulay805 (823467) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:14PM (#12635396) Homepage Journal
    Hey, thats aboue two VW Beetle's worth of Library of Congresses to the hogs head!!!!
  • by TomDLux (28486) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:14PM (#12635407)
    I son't HAVE that much prOn!
  • Hmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by buckymatters (885912)
    Hopefully they'll be rewritable so I can just run my computer off it. That'd be nice, one disc for each OS.
  • by ad0gg (594412) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:15PM (#12635427)
    Making a clicking noise [grc.com] when it dies?
    • Now it's nano-clicking. The sound is so small you can't even hear it.
    • These are much more advanced than that old iomega media of yesteryear.

      Now it'll say "Anon, I am slain" before it shits itself and takes your precious data with it.
    • Making a clicking noise when it dies?

      Yes. From the patent:

      17. The disk storage system of claim 16, where said stored data may be lost to read/write head operation failure.

      18. The disk storage system of claim 17, where said operation failure is further caused by read/write head encountering dirt or debris on underprotected cheap media format.

      19. The disk storage system of claim 18, where driver software further issues a plurality of reset commands to said read/write head in response to operation error

  • Oh boy.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:16PM (#12635434)
    My fat finger print just erased 138 Gigs of data from my DVD!
  • by NightWulf (672561) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:17PM (#12635445)
    I'm reading the articles mentioning that they have been issued two patents, but is there anything tangible to these patents. So they have a working 850GB DVD using nanotech, or is this just another patent for tech that *could* be made in 2025.
    • "I'm reading the articles mentioning that they have been issued two patents, but is there anything tangible to these patents. So they have a working 850GB DVD using nanotech, or is this just another patent for tech that *could* be made in 2025."

      I doubt they're thinking that far in advance. The main reason Iomega is around today is that their 100 meg zip drive came out at a time where hard drives were barely that size. They came damn close to becoming a standard must-have device until the CD-RW came arou
      • their 100 meg zip drive came out at a time where hard drives were barely that size

        Meh. When Zips came out, about 10 years ago, I had a 750MB drive, and that wasn't unusually large. Where Zips excelled was in price. SyQuests and Bernoullis cost a lot more.
    • or is this just another patent for tech that *could* be made in 2025.

      No, it's a new trend: companies patent problems without a solution anticipating that some court in a couple of years will grant them license fees from someone that's going to actually put the money and effort to solve the problem.

      I remember seeing in this category patents for ethical AI[1], Sony patenting virtual reality games via ultrasound stimulation of a brain. None of this thech is or will be available in foreseeable future.

      So wha
  • Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 0kComputer (872064) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:17PM (#12635456)
    Now I can get rid of my Zip drive.
  • form factor? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nilbog (732352)
    Is it still on the same less-than-perfect form factor? Seriously, I have casette tapes and 8-track tapes, and VHS tapes that still work, but my DVD's skip every dang time. How about we work on something durable...?
  • Yea well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:18PM (#12635464)
    I've got a patent pending for a terrabyte DVD drive and a 100 terrabyte DVD drive. So, there!

    Of course, just like the Iomega vaporware, you can't get one of my drives yet either but, I'll have the patent Real Soon (tm). I think I'll release Duke Nukem as the first title on my new world dominating format.

    TTFN
  • Scratched discs? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by adisakp (705706) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:18PM (#12635466) Journal
    Of course, with 850GB per disc, a single scratch will wipe out a couple gigs of data.
    • And a single break in a 100m tape will also make the tape completely unreadable.

      Of course, a scratched optical disk usually won't eat your drive, while a broken tape can do so in a heartbeat.

      Keep optical disks in good cases and make redundant backups and you actually have a pretty robust backup system.
    • No, these things are nanotech, and operate at the quantum level. If the disk is scratched, your data will quantum probability cloud. Solving Schrodinger's equation for the disc will reveal a 50% probability that your data is still there, and a 50% probability that your data is now a dead cat.
  • by johnpaul191 (240105) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:18PM (#12635467) Homepage
    maybe with media this large people will be more likely to back up (clone?) their entire hd? maybe not.... but it would make it a lot easier than picking the important files.

    even of the slightly more responsible people i know... a few lost their entire mp3 collection when the drive died. i guess they did not have a 200 gig backup drive.
  • All of the storage capacity in my entire house could fit on two of these things. Awesome!
  • That wont even fit a quater of the data we deal with, Uncomressed video takes a LOT of space. We need 10 Terabyte discs
  • Not news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SkinnyPapa (843210)
    Every few months, some new technology pops-up with promises of greater storage capacity (all simpsons episodes on 1 disc!!1!1one) on today's or future optical/magnetic media.
    Be it some variation of Holographic storage, which has been promised over 10 years ago or something different.
    This is this generation's Cold Fusion.
    Besides, seeing how much trouble there is with the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD war, I doubt we'll see any other format come up in the next 7-8 years.
  • by Adult film producer (866485) <van@i2pmail.org> on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:19PM (#12635496)
    850 gigs ? Wow.. nice but how about reliability and longevity? (I'm sure the press release will promise the heaven and sky.) I'm reminded of this by people setting themselves up as guniea pig experiments for laser eye surgery. I'll wait another 10 years before diving into that one too. A lot of theory suggests everything will be okay but I'll let father time be the judge of that.
  • Iomega's stock [yahoo.com] is still suffering from analysts obsessed with declining zip drive sales. Should be interesting if this has any impact, not that analysts ever read /.
    • Iomega's stock [yahoo.com] is still suffering from analysts obsessed with declining zip drive sales. Should be interesting if this has any impact, not that analysts ever read /.

      Why would they? Slashdot is basically a collection of links to various web sites followed by vapid commentary that is propped up by an arbitrary moderation system. Why read Slashdot when you can just read the news sources to which Slashdot links? I enjoy commenting and reading other people's comments and debating stuff with you

  • It's a step in the wrong direction. The great minds behind all this new technology need to meet up AGAIN so these things can make it into the consumer's hands. I don't want 3 different optical drives in my tower. This could either start DVD doomsday or this technology could take the path of everthing else that Iomega has made; they tend to overcharge for media, which is ultimately their downfall.
  • Just when IT managers thought that their data was safe from walking out the front door, Joe "Blow" User comes in with a "Zip DVD" drive and copies all the servers over the network before leaving at the end of the day.

    The "Zip DVD" drive... another soon-to-be banned item from the workplace.
    • Except that copying 850GB is a non-trivial event for just about any connection currently in use.

      For example:

      850GB, 100Mbit network at 5MB/sec = 47 hours

      Time for IT to notice network load pinned and one light on the switch constantly lit.... a day, tops.

      Time for everyone else on the network to complain to IT about "slow outlook" = 5 nanoseconds.

      Even a raid array delivering to an utra-ata133 backup device on the same system at 50MB/sec... that'd still take 5 hours.
  • Space abundance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Council (514577) <rmunroe@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:22PM (#12635532) Homepage
    The inevitable situation is that we will have unlimited space -- that is, more than we can fill. So what happens when we can quite easily put every piece of digital media we've ever even thought about owning -- all the movies, all the games -- on a single disk, without ever having to delete anything?

    I really don't know -- it's an interesting question, both similar and dependent on the question of what happens when we have bandwidth abundance [amazon.com]. I don't know the answer. What do you think?

    One thing that I think is likely is that we will stop trying to organize our data with a tree metaphor and move more toward a search-based system [livejournal.com], like how iTunes organizes music. It seems a likely possibility.
    • Inevitable... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The inevitable thing is that whenever we have more data storage, we'll fill it with more data.
    • Re:Space abundance (Score:4, Interesting)

      by diggem (74763) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:49PM (#12635862) Homepage
      One of the uses for all that storage is for memory enhancing systems. See wearable computing [eyetap.org].

      Basically, the computer records and stores your daily activities. Say earlier you met some nice young chica, or a friend with a great business oportunity. Whatever, it's been recorded for you and is indexed and searchable.

      "What was her number?" Play it back later on, you have it. Etc..

      At least, that's one use for mega-storage. You need speedy processing to go along with it to enable face and voice recognition. I always forget names, it'd be nice to have a cue when I see somebody the next time.
    • by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:53PM (#12635922) Homepage
      The inevitable situation is that we will have unlimited space -- that is, more than we can fill. So what happens when we can quite easily put every piece of digital media we've ever even thought about owning -- all the movies, all the games -- on a single disk, without ever having to delete anything?

      850gb is more than anyone will ever need...

    • Re:Space abundance (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Monoman (8745) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @01:04PM (#12636072) Homepage
      Unlimited space might take a while. The more abundant space becomes the more we can turn up the quality of digitizing audio, video, etc.

      * Regarding search-based system *

      I was first exposed to a search/tag-based filing system by Opera's M2 mail client. It wasn't until Gmail and del.icio.us that I realized the advantages of search/tag-based filing systems. It finally hit me like a brick and I felt I had to tell all of my friends and get them on board.

      Now however, the more I think about it the more I start to think this won't be the panacea it looks like at first. Think about having ALL of your files in ONE folder in a few years. When I say ALL, I mean emails, documents, music, video, data files, etc. What happens when you need to manually find something because for whatever reason searching won't do the job?

      Imagine looking through tens of thousands of files with counter-intuitive names (file001.jpg, readme-542.txt, etc). Imagine how slow the "old" tools (dir, explorer, ls, etc) will work with those tens of thousands of files in one folder. Frustration will set in very very quickly.

      I am still a proponent of the search/tag-based approach but I think it will need to be incorporated into the hierarchical system currently in use.

      and what do I really know.
  • Are you lot as frustrated as I am with the heaps of proprietary DVD technology? The deluge of overlapping advances seems to be non-stop. At this point, it's clear that the heterogeneity of DVD hardware and media goes well beyond the DVD-R vs. DVD+R battle, and I find myself perpetually postponing my DVD+RW drive purchase for this very reason: There doesn't ever seem to be a confluence of the best technologies in the DVD hardware market.

    Looming product obsolescence is a fact of life for consumers of comput
  • by voss (52565) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:23PM (#12635553)
    That could hold 280,000 MP3s or
    150 full length movies at 480 progressive.

    I could store my entire media collection on
    one disc and still not be able to find anything ;-)

    Thats pretty cool.

  • God, I just sort of assumed Iomega was dead at this point.

    If this is for real ( and not as a previous poster suggested patent-guarded future-ware ) Iomega might actually be relevant again. How odd that would be.

  • by Cheeze (12756)
    click of death.

    850GB is a lot of data to entrust to a company with a poor storage history.
  • NBC: The Complete 1994 Prime Time Season.
  • Many people have asked: "what is all fuzz about this desktop search?". Well, here you have answer. Storage will grow larger and faster. And it is a GOOD thing. In such large space, ordering records/files/movies/music/whatever will become too much for person. And there Spotlight, Google Desktop Search, Beagle, Microsoft "next best thing" comes in action. I have seen Spotlight in action and if fact, I'm impressed.

    It is interesting how fast other botlenecks in computer systems will catch with storage - memory
  • Let's hope this new drive never emits a "click, click, click" sound [grc.com].

    Actually, I'm shocked to see some innovation from IoMega -- I had written them off as dead. I hope it works out well for them.

  • Dumb Questions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cagle_.25 (715952) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:38PM (#12635736) Journal
    FTA: Iomega is working to investigate the commercial feasibility of this format and other nano-structural data encoding formats. One possibility being investigated, termed NG-DVD (Nano-Grating - DVD), uses nano-gratings to encode multi-level information via reflectivity, polarization, phase, and reflective orientation multiplexing.

    1) What is the difference between polarization and reflective orientation?

    2) How are they measuring reflectivity? From the amplitude of a reflected beam?

    This is some impressive technology.
  • Smaller discs! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ardor (673957)
    The 6,5" CDs are annoying. I like the smaller ones, but with only ~250 MB capacity the usefulness of these is limited. However, a small version of these DVDs would be fine. Easier transporation, less danger of being broken...

    Besides, it just looks cooler. Would remind me of the Johny Mnemonic 320GB discs (the movie was crap, but the disc and the drive were cool).
  • Iomega Patents 850GB DVD Nano-Technology

    Holy Buzzword Bingo Batman
  • AO - DVD is a novel technique of encoding data on the surface of a DVD by using reflective nano-structures to encode data

    Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the limiting technology in optical storage was the laser, not the media.
    Isn't the hard part making a laser beam narrow enough to read the smaller reflectors? And making the reflectors smaller is the easy part?

  • Of all of the proprietary formats that Iomega has, I don't think that any of them was really a success. I wonder if this one will be any different.
  • 850 GB is a 1 MB/sec, 8 hours per day, for an entire month.

    With disks such as this, we may never have to erase anything again. Every web-page that I have ever visited could be cached. Every "save" of every document could be retained for version control. Every change of a config file could be retained for roll-back.

    The only thing we need is a OS/file system that automatically retains everything, organizes it, and keeps pointers to the DVD backup (replaced monthly).
  • by Slashcrap (869349) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @12:46PM (#12635830)
    ...allow me to translate the press release into reality :

    New technology, called Articulated Optical - DVD will allow 40-100 times more data (upto 850 Gb) to be lost from a DVD at a speed 5-30 times faster than today's DVDs, and at a truly ridiculous cost. AO - DVD is a novel technique of destroying data on the surface of a DVD by using reflective nano-structures to completely fuck up your data beyond any means of recovery in a highly multi-level format.

    Click, click, click, grrinnd, crrruunnncchh. FUCK!
  • This is bullshit. Some company that invested into this research is now going to profit off of it.
  • They need to get rid of the hole in the middle. That gap, at these new densities, could hold an entire movie's data. When they shrink the discs to fit media libraries into tiny mobile devices, that huge hole would consume most of the capacity.
  • by 4/3PI*R^3 (102276) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @01:02PM (#12636052)
    LOL, we're talking about IOMEGA here. The company that still thinks it can charge $10-$15 dollars for a 100MB magnetic disk that only works with their proprietary drive.


    I quit using my zip drive years ago. Everybody has a CD-ROM drive any more; almost nobody has a Zip drive. CD-R media costs a whopping $0.10 for 650MB of data. I can burn 100 CD-R's before I incur the same cost as one Zip disk.


    IOMEGA's biggest problem is that once they set a price for their products the rest of the market be damned they will not lower their price to compete. All this patent is going to do is ensure that IOMEGA will be able to charge 50 quakazillion dollars for their DVD media when you can do the exact same thing for under $100 using current DVD technology.

  • by melted (227442) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @01:24PM (#12636313) Homepage
    Will it include their patented "Click of Death" technology?
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @01:37PM (#12636444) Homepage
    Ok. All you guys downloading MP3's to your Ipods have to stop. You're infringing Iomega's patents:

    "The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has confirmed that Iomega invented the broad concept of exchanging data between a computer and another digital device using removable data storage."
  • Forget compression! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LesPaul75 (571752) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @02:22PM (#12636919) Journal
    Yeah, I know, this is probably just another article about vaporware. But, if it were true, imagine what you could do with an 850GB DVD:

    - A single frame of 1080p HD video is 1920 x 1080 pixels, or 2073600 pixels.
    - Each pixel is 24 bits of RGB, so 2073600 x 3 bytes = 6220800 bytes for each frame of video.
    - at 30 frames per second, one second of video would take 186624000 bytes.

    So with 850GB of space, you could store about 80 hours of completely uncompressed, high-definition, true-color video. Wow... Is my math right there? I didn't expect it to be that much. Anyway, that would look pretty spiffy on your fancy 60" HDTV. Plenty of room left over for a few dozen tracks of completely uncompressed digital audio, too. :)

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