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Constellation 3D - FMD-ROM
100 GB Disc vaults DVDs
by Stephen Jones (November 20, 2000)


With DVD-ROM drives just starting to emerge, it's easy to forget that sometimes, technology leapfrogs the obvious progression.

For instance, Constellation 3D (C3D) has just demonstrated such a possible leap in optical storage technology. By, departing completely from DVD's decades-old Compact Disc roots, C3D's Fluorescent Multilayer Disc (or FMD) technology my yield 20 times the capacity of maxed-out DVDs.

The result is a single, CD-sized disc that can hold an astounding 100 gigabytes of uncompressed data. And, because of the technology's inherent parallel read capability, FMDs support much higher data transfer rates than DVDs. In addition, C3D is showing a credit-card sized ClearCard with a 5 gigabyte capacity.

You've got to wonder who needs that kind of capacity? Hollywood is who. FMD's are perfect for high-definition video as television studios begin to convert over to HDTV. Likewise, movie studios are beginning to rely more and more on digital formats for production and even distribution of feature-length films. Imagine: A single, 100- gigabyte FMD could hold a mind-boggling 11 hours of HDTV-quality video programming.

OK, all this sounds like gripping science-fiction, but can consumers ever hope to see this outside of the lab? Fortunately C3D has begun commercializing the technology by, for instance, adapting it to use common red lasers. Likewise promising, they recently signed an agreement with Ricoh to begin producing the industrial FMD readers and writers that will, hopefully, clear a path through which consumer devices will soon follow. Or, should we say "leap?"

Copyright 2006 Stephen Jones All rights reserved.

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