Sunday, July 08, 2007

Today's Space Revolution

If you, like me, read Ars Technica's article about microholography this morning, you may have been blown away like I was. I'm still taking it in.

Ars reported that a group of German scientists have discovered a way of storing up to 500GB of data on DVD-sized discs. Not only that, they plan on doubling that figure by 2010!

The implications of this are mind-blowing, to say the least. Databases with huge amounts of image data can be several terabytes in size, and discs of this size would drastically increase not only their mobility, but decrease their cost.

Translation: information would be even more permeable than it is now, with greater functionality than you could ever imagine.

What's some of the cool stuff you can do with databases when size is not longer an issue?

How about using composite technologies like those Adobe has created for Photoshop Extended to take all the street pictures that Google took for Google Streetview and turn them into a user-manipulatable virtual world. Forget looking at single snapshots of any street corner; now you can walk down the street from your computer.

Or how about doing the same thing for education, drastically reducing the price of classes by providing photo-realistic, interactive courses online, where a school's only real cost would be the price of bandwidth?

Digital historians today could rest at ease, finally, knowing that priceless works of art and digitized records could be stored in multiple locations, in case of thief, natural disaster, or terrorist attacks.

I won't even go into the military implications of this technological breakthrough.

My point: this is another revolution in disguise, and it repercussions are earth shattering.

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