Salty Hard Drive

On 18/10/2011, in Technology News, by Norman Dean

Scientists in Singapore proved they are worth their salt by sextupling hard drive space with no equipment upgrades.

Scientists at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in collaboration with National University of Singapore and the Data Storage Institute discovered that simply adding table salt to a solution used when creating hard drives increased the capacity by almost six times.

This advance means a hard drives holding 1 Terabyte (TB) of data today, in the future, could hold 6 TB of data within the same size and form factor. The salt causes this increase because it forces the bits (pieces of information on your hard drive) into predictable, organized patterns on your hard drive. A*STAR likens the system to packing your clothes in your suitcase when you travel. The neater you pack them the more you can carry.” Current methods use clusters of data without such a specific organizational system.

The secret to their research lies in their salty solution. Using an existing production method the scientists discovered adding table salt would produce highly defined nanostructures without the need for expensive equipment upgrades.This ‘salty developer solution’ method was invented by Dr. Yang when he was a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Joel Yang, the Singapore scientist who heads up the project told AFP, “It can give you a very high contrast. We are now able to see fine lines that would normally be blurred out.”

This method is still, solidly, in the development stages. Dr. Yang hinted the salty bit-patterning process will be adopted by the industry by 2016 “when the current techniques run out of fuel and (hard drive manufacturers) need to find alternate methods” of increasing data storage space. So, don’t go dipping your hard drives in salt to increase their storage capacity.


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