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Mempile Reveals 1TB Disc System

Neve Ioan, Israel — Mempile, a venture-capital funded technology developer based here, has developed a “next, next-generation” read/write optical disc system that will be capable of producing a DVD-sized disc with up to 200 layers yielding up to 1TB of storage capacity.

Mempile is calling the red-laser-based read/write system “Two Photon technology” and the disc that it uses will be known as a “TeraDisc,” according to Beth Erez, Mempile’s chief marketing officer and executive VP.

The company sees the system being used as an archiving system for vast amounts of digital media consumers will collect in coming years.

“The ultimate goal is to place the system in consumer homes as a means to archive [all of the digital media] that you’ve got,” Erez said. Secondarily, she said, the technology will target uses in the enterprise market.

“We see this being used as a bridge-type of technology, attached to both the PVR and the PC,” she said. “There is nothing in the technology that doesn’t allow it use any of the types of security mechanisms that the industry may wish to be included.”

However, she said it was unlikely the discs would be used for prerecorded video applications, adding that today’s Blu-ray Discs and HD DVDs seem to be adequate for the HD distribution needs of content producers.

While target prices were not disclosed, she said the cost of the disc will eventually become very affordable, she said.

“The disc is basically a piece of plastic, and it doesn’t cost very much to produce. Most of the cost of the disc will be related to the return on the investment for all of the work to get it out of the door,” Erez said, adding media and drives will launch at higher prices and eventually work their way down to about the same prices as those charged for the hardware and software of Blu-ray or HD DVDs, “but with 10 times the capacity,” she said.

The initial prototype drives will probably target business markets due to an introductory cost of around $2,000 or 3,000 and a relatively large form factor.

The optical disc will be made of a yellowish-green transparent plastic that consists of an acrylic polymer that Mempile has developed from “a special molecule.”

“Eventually, we will be able to write 200 virtual layers, each the equivalent [capacity] of a DVD,” she said.

Thus far, Mempile has demonstrated the ability to record and write on 100 layers using a disc that was half the size of a DVD [6mm], she said.

The first disc to be produced in phase one of the product roadmap calls for a storage capacity in the 500GB to 600GB range, she said. Thickening the disc will allow gradually increasing the capacity up to a maximum of 1TB, she said.

“The processes are “very, very closely related to DVD, HD DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, and use many of the same drives and media production techniques,” said Erez.

“We are trying to use as much as possible everything in the existing [DVD] manufacturing component,” Erez said.

Erez said Mempile is working with Japanese optical disc producer Memory Tech on mass-production techniques for the media. Drives for the system are being developed with partners “who are subcontractors in Japan and OEM for some of the large companies.”

Erez said Mempile is about 18 months away from developing a prototype system capable of up to 200 layers.

The company is in the preliminary stages of meeting with potential manufacturing partners in Japan, and will seek out relationships with other Asian partners shortly, she said.