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357,913,941 songs in your pocket *

1.2 petabytes of storage would mean you could save every thought and image you ever had and not run out of space. Michael Thomas, an American inventor, has found a way to create a drive with that much capacity. As a refresher, one megabyte is 1,024 kilobytes, one gigabyte is 1,024 megabytes, a terabyte is 1,024 gigabytes, and a petabyte is 1,024 terabytes. What does this all add up to? Well, in other words, a single petabyte is 1,073,741,824 megabytes. A 1.2 petabyte drive, therefore, would be equivalent to 2097 Maxtor 500GB harddrives. That’s a whole lotta harddrives.

Thomas has accomplished this impressive gain in capacity through non-contact optical spintronics. Current data storage methods are able to control the direction electrons spin around a molecule, but not the spin of the individual electrons. The electrons spin randomly, which works against the best electrical signal. Thomas is able to get the electrons spinning in the same direction. This change makes all the difference, apparently.

According to Thomas, controlling the direction of spin will allow for much smaller electronic devices. He is in discussions with manufacturers in Japan and expects to see prototypes in two or three years, with commercial products in four or five years at a cost in the range of $750.

* 357,913,941 songs in your pocket is based on 4 minutes per song at 64 kbps WMA :]

About T.O. Whenham

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