Eliezer S. Yudkowsky <firstname.lastname@example.org> Wrote:
>Okay, I just read a news article (paper, unfortunately - London Times)
>that alleges one Ted Williams of Keele University in the UK, inventor of
>NMR, claims the following:
>1. Storing 2,300 gigabytes in a credit card;
>2. Manufacturing it for 35 pounds;
>3. Scaling it up or down ("even a wristwatch could store 100GB");
>4. No moving parts;
>5. A company has been formed;
>6. Might start selling it in summer of 2001.
>Didn't say anything about access speed, but I got the impression it
>might be intended to replace RAM as well as hard drives.
>So is this real?
Short answer: I don't know.
Long answer: I know nothing about Williams work but from the distorted hints I've read I can speculate on how it might work, I could be wrong. Some shinny materials slightly rotate the plane of polarization of the light reflected by them, but only when the material is magnetized. Up to now the rotation was too small to be useful but I know lots of people were trying to increase it, perhaps Williams found a substance where the effect was large enough to be practical.
Writing super tiny magnetic dots would be easier than reading them. Use a conventional magnetic head to expose a rather large area with a weak magnetic field. Normally the field is too weak to change anything but if you use a LASER to heat a tiny spot it will change it's magnetic orientation to that of the field, any place not heated will be unchanged. I don't know for sure that's how the gadget works or if Williams can really sell it at the price he says as soon as he says, but I hope so.
John K Clark email@example.com