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Paper data storage technique could put 256GB on an A4 sheet

Man has been storing data on paper for quite some time. So when you realize that we’re talking about the kind of data storage that computers are more familiar with than you or me, and being able to squeeze in over two hundred gigabytes of data onto a sheet of A4 paper .. now that’s something to write home about:

“Files such as text, images, sounds and video clips are encoded in ‘rainbow format’ as coloured circles, triangles, squares and so on, and printed as dense graphics on paper at a density of 2.7GB per square inch. The paper can then be read through a specially developed scanner and the contents decoded into their original digital format and viewed or played. The encoding and decoding processes have not been revealed.

Using this technology an A4 sheet of paper could store 256GB of data. In comparison, a DVD can store 4.7GB of data. The Rainbow technology is feasible because printed text, readable by the human eye is a very wasteful use of the potential capacity of paper to store data. By printing the data encoded in a denser way much higher capacities can be achieved.”

Sounds intriguing.

However, two issues immediately spring to mind: firstly, I found no mention of whether this new technology would work with recycled paper, which is a must, and second, I also found no mention of what life span we could expect for this kind of high-density storage media.

“Paper is, of course, bio-degradable, unlike CDs or DVDs. And sheets of paper also cost a fraction of the cost of a CD or DVD.”

Assuming the worst, this new data storage format would need to use original paper stock and would have an archive life span of maybe a year at most.

Further assuming these are issues well in hand, “Sainul Abideen who has just completed an MCA degree in Kara [India]” can just go and take a ticket and join the queue!

What with Blue-Ray and HD-DVD wrestling over which is to be the next stage in high-capacity storage, for now, the only data to be seen on paper is the news being made by these guys…

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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