CWmike writes "Toshiba will detail a breakthrough in data storage later Wednesday that it says paves the way for hard drives with vastly higher capacity than today, reports Martyn WIlliams. The breakthrough has been made in the research of bit-patterned media, a magnetic storage technology that is being developed for future hard disk drives. Bit-patterned media breaks up the recording surface into numerous magnetic bits, each consisting of a few magnetic grains. Under a microscope, the magnetic bits look like thousands of tiny spheres crammed next to each another. Data is stored on these magnetic bits: One magnetic bit can hold one bit of data. Prototypes of the media have been made before but Toshiba says its engineers have, for the first time, succeeded in producing a media sample in which the magnetic bits are organized into a pattern of rows."