Have you filled the memory capacity on your iPod or mp3 player yet? If yes, then today’s news that IBM has developed a new type of digital storage will please you no end.
When I purchased my 20gb Creative Zen Touch four years ago, I thought that amount of memory would last me forever, and I’d never have to delete a song or album from the player. Unfortunately, after about a year, I’d filled all 20 gig, and had to start picking and choosing which tracks would make the cut.
Luckily, technology is moving on at a frightening pace. Moore’s Law, coined in 1965 by the co-founder of Intel, Gordon Moore, tells us that computing speed will double every two years, and that has proved quite accurate.
Now though, technological leaps are set to see that ceiling smashed, and huge memory capacities being available on tiny products are not too far in the future.
The Times today reports of a paper published in Science magazine, which tells of a new memory chip codenamed Racetrack, which could see your Apple iPod hold 500,000 songs within ten years. Or if you’re more of a movie buff, 3,500 films.
The new system uses the spin of an electron to store data. Not only does this make huge capacities possible, it also has other great advantages over the current flash memory that we all use.
It operates faster than hard drives and flash memory, and will never wear out, with no mechanism to only be good for a certain amount of uses attached to it.
Stuart Parkin, the IBM fellow who led the research, said:
“The promise of racetrack memory – for example, the ability to carry massive amounts of information in your pocket – could unleash creativity leading to devices and applications that nobody has imagined yet,”
“The combination of extraordinarily interesting physics and spintronic materials engineering, one atomic layer at a time, continues to be highly challenging and very rewarding.”
Although I find the process behind this new technology fascinating to hear about, at the end of the day, all I want to know is how many songs it’ll enable my iPod or Zen to hold, and when it’ll be available.
IBM has stated that the technology is still exploratory at this stage, but expects it to be used in devices within ten years. With that sort of time frame, maybe I should upgrade to a bigger capacity mp3 player in the meantime.
I could always imitate David Beckham and go gold.