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posted by requerdanos on Thursday February 04 2021, @05:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the angular-wizardry dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Purdue University innovators have created technology aimed at replacing Morse code with colored “digital characters” to modernize optical storage. They are confident the advancement will help with the explosion of remote data storage during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

[...] Rather than using the traditional dots and dashes as commonly used in these technologies, the Purdue innovators encode information in the angular position of tiny antennas, allowing them to store more data per unit area.

"The storage capacity greatly increases because it is only defined by the resolution of the sensor by which you can determine the angular positions of antennas," said Alexander Kildishev, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in Purdue's College of Engineering. "We map the antenna angles into colors, and the colors are decoded."

[...]This new development not only allows for more information to be stored but also increases the readout rate.

"You can put four sensors nearby, and each sensor would read its own polarization of light," Kildishev said. "This helps increase the speed of readout of information compared to the use of a single sensor with dots and dashes."

Future applications for this technology include security tagging and cryptography. To continue developing these capabilities, the team is looking to partner with interested parties in the industry.

Journal Reference:
Maowen Song, Di Wang, Zhaxylyk A. Kudyshev, et al. Enabling Optical Steganography, Data Storage, and Encryption with Plasmonic Colors, Laser & Photonics Reviews (DOI: 10.1002/lpor.202000343)


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  • (Score: 1) by Eratosthenes on Thursday February 04 2021, @05:48AM (16 children)

    by Eratosthenes (13959) on Thursday February 04 2021, @05:48AM (#1108813) Journal

    Non-binary? Or are they talking something else, which will not serve them well when V'ger returns. And, seriously, any decent protocol would have to reduced to binary, or be fatally flawed and ambiguous. Do not see the advantage. But that is just me, who may be a bot. There are only 11 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who do not.

    • (Score: 2) by dltaylor on Thursday February 04 2021, @07:07AM (5 children)

      by dltaylor (4693) on Thursday February 04 2021, @07:07AM (#1108839)

      It is 10b kinds of people, with the 'b' omitted for obfuscation. 11b requires another "kind" not listed.

      • (Score: 1) by Eratosthenes on Thursday February 04 2021, @07:38AM (4 children)

        by Eratosthenes (13959) on Thursday February 04 2021, @07:38AM (#1108841) Journal

        Always somebody who does not get the joke. Oh, well.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @08:09AM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @08:09AM (#1108845)

          Oh wow. I would have thought Eratosthenes would be brighter than this.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @08:35AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @08:35AM (#1108848)

            The original, decimal version is: "There are three kinds of people in this world, those who can count, and those who cannot."

            I would have expected the average Soylentil AC to get that the equivalent in binary is 11, not 10. But as Mark Twain said, explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog; neither the joke nor the frog survives.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @11:42AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @11:42AM (#1108860)

              except that nobody except you knows the original decimal version.
              which seems to be a completely different joke in any case, since the funny comes from the inability to count.
              whereas for the programmer version the funny comes from the assumption that '10' is written in decimal.

              and, just in case: i can be even more unfunny if needed.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @07:43PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @07:43PM (#1109019)

                Eratosthenes seems to know it, and if he knows it, that means everyone knows it, except for rando ACs on SoylentNews.

    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday February 04 2021, @10:43AM

      by sjames (2882) on Thursday February 04 2021, @10:43AM (#1108858) Journal

      Consider an octal system (8 different polarization states). Then, each spot on the disk encodes 3 bits rather than just 1 so you triple the data density of the medium.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by DannyB on Thursday February 04 2021, @03:07PM (8 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 04 2021, @03:07PM (#1108919) Journal

      Non-binary? Or are they talking something else, which will not serve them well when V'ger returns.

      There are (at present) 89 genders (last I checked). A unique color could be assigned to each gender. But this would require a bit of organization to track properly. So I propose a new Federal Department of Gender.

      The new FDG would get a generous budget and staff to standardize the recognized gender codes and colors. The codes "M" and "F" would be grandfathered in, with colors "sky blue" and "light pink" respectively. Other gender codes would be four character alphanumeric codes, to reserve sufficient address space for future gender code expansion. Colors would be specified in conventional color notation used in CSS.

      All federal and state forms would use the new FDG gender codes (and colors where appropriate). Software vendors would have one year to adapt their software to support the new codes in time for their use on government forms, especially IRS forms.

      The FDG could study which subsets of genders could be grouped together to determine the smallest number of restrooms that can accommodate all of the 89 genders. (It turns out to be 11 restrooms.)

      This important function of the FDG would result in economic efficiencies. After all, we don't want to mandate that businesses build 89 different restrooms if it can be mathematically shown that only 11 restrooms are required to accommodate all 89 genders. This saves economic resources in building design and construction.

      Beyond this new beginning, other new Federal measures and policies will be announced in due time as the administration gets to attending to this and other similarly important matters.

      --
      With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday February 04 2021, @04:55PM (5 children)

        by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 04 2021, @04:55PM (#1108959) Journal

        No. You could, with reasonable doubt, claim that there were 89 sexes. I'd want to know your definition, but it wouldn't be obviously wrong. Claiming that there are 89 genders is obviously wrong. Gender is a social construct, and most people don't recognize more than 5 of them (i.e. male, female, neuter, inanimate, other.) Individuals might extend that a little bit to deal with intersex people who demand to be as something else, but it requires experience to form a social category outside the REALLY basic ones. 10 wouldn't be obviously wrong in principle, but most people wouldn't recognize anything outside the five I listed. (Note that even known female dogs tend to be male in gender, despite their sex, and cats tend to be female.)

        FWIW, paramecium have been reported to have 19 sexes. But that's not with the standard definition.

        You are using the term gender where you should be using the term sex. If you said sex, I'd recognize it as a joke, rather than something that was just wrong. I, personally, wouldn't find it very funny, but I accept that there are those that would. Saying gender ruins the joke, and make it just wrong.

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Thursday February 04 2021, @05:01PM

          by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 04 2021, @05:01PM (#1108962) Homepage Journal

          There is an Australian language with 8 genders.

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday February 04 2021, @08:25PM (2 children)

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 04 2021, @08:25PM (#1109033) Journal

          I'd want to know your definition

          I heard 89 genders from some SJW's online about a year and a half ago. Maybe closer to two years.

          So it MUST be true.

          --
          With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05 2021, @03:29AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05 2021, @03:29AM (#1109165)

            With genders like Boeing AH-64 I'm surprised there are only 89.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05 2021, @05:51AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05 2021, @05:51AM (#1109206)

              You all really got to get a new joke. A whole world of possibilities to chose from and it always has to be that an attack helicopter is a gender/sex. Oh well. At least you are still fun to laugh at given the futility of using your brain for something productive.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05 2021, @03:41AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05 2021, @03:41AM (#1109171)

          Gender is a social construct

          No it isn't [wikipedia.org].

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @10:09PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @10:09PM (#1109076)

        There are (at present) 89 genders (last I checked).

        Whoop, there's one more! And hey, I just made up another. I'd better go report them to the Federal Agency of Gender.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05 2021, @04:21AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05 2021, @04:21AM (#1109183)

          You sound like a woman.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by ledow on Thursday February 04 2021, @08:38AM (3 children)

    by ledow (5567) on Thursday February 04 2021, @08:38AM (#1108849) Homepage

    How communication technology works:

    - Someone makes a binary system because it's the simplest way of operating.
    - Someone extends that binary system because technology catches up and we can do more.
    - Someone extends that system because technology catches up and we can do more.
    - Someone extends that system because technology catches up and we can do more.
    - You're now using timing, coding, polarisation, angulation, frequency and phase shifts to get the most data you can from a single "read".
    - Someone discovers a way to say things on an EVEN SMALLER scale, but it only works in binary because the sensors are cutting-edge and need clear binary accuracy.
    - Someone extends that binary system because technology catches up and we can do more.

    ....

    Radio telegraphy started as a binary (technically trinary because of silences) dots and dashes.
    Eventually we got direct audio, FM, then binary data only decipherable by a computer, then inaudible data in higher frequencies then...

    Fibre-optic started as a light pulse.
    Then we added multiple wavelengths, phase-shifting, quadrature modulation, etc. etc. etc.

    And yet the base technology, the thing that's fastest, cheapest, most reliable, is just lots of parallel communication lines of binary data as fast as you can switch them. That's why our computer buses aren't trinary or analogue. That's why your graphics card is some revision of PCIe.

    While we're not hitting a physical limits, a binary stream is the easiest thing to send, detect, and correct for at the other end, and directly translatable through basic coding theory to the data you intended to transmit. We only lump in complications when we hit that physical limit and need more. But, inevitably, some technology then comes along that's technically faster, even as binary, than the best complicated system.

    We'll do the same with "neutrinos sent through the Earth" international communication. With quantum communication. With whatever comes afterwards.

    We'll start with binary and, unless and until we outgrow that, it'll be quicker, cheaper and easier than anything that needs to sense levels, polarisations, a change in phase, etc. etc. etc.

    And, pretty much always, the communication conversion at both ends will be to and from a basic fast binary system because that's how our fastest computers still work.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @11:45AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @11:45AM (#1108861)

      I like my tape recorder.
      you plug in the microphone, speak into it, and the magnetic tape doesn't know how to count, but still you can listen to yourself afterwards.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by ledow on Thursday February 04 2021, @04:11PM

        by ledow (5567) on Thursday February 04 2021, @04:11PM (#1108946) Homepage

        And on the same analogue tape, with proper D-A encoding, I could encode more than the same data in an MP3-like format with a pure binary encoding.

        Hell, there used to be a thing called VideoBacker which, on an ordinary three hour VHS tape in an ordinary tape record could store 1Gb+ of data as screen images (basically like lots of rapid colour QR codes).

        If you could write to and read from the tape directly, you could easily store terabytes on there (which is exactly how backup tapes work).

    • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday February 04 2021, @05:00PM

      by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 04 2021, @05:00PM (#1108961) Journal

      FWIW, US telegraphers code started out as trinary (quaternary if you count the spaces) with two different lengths of dashes. This turned out to cause problems, so they eventually switched to binary (dot dash). Imagine how large the problems must have been to require all the telegraphers to learn and get up to speed in a different encoding pattern.

      --
      Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
  • (Score: 4, Touché) by shortscreen on Thursday February 04 2021, @09:18AM (1 child)

    by shortscreen (2252) on Thursday February 04 2021, @09:18AM (#1108852) Journal

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this has nothing to do with Morse code. Maybe the symbols in the relevant binary optical storage scheme are referred to as "dots and dashes" but that doesn't make it Morse code, which isn't really binary because it also has spaces in between strings.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @04:26PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @04:26PM (#1108951)

      I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this has nothing to do with Morse code. Maybe the symbols in the relevant binary optical storage scheme are referred to as "dots and dashes"

      They aren't. The physical features on "normal" optical discs are called pits and lands (and of course the coded data itself is just discussed as binary digits or decimal or hex or BCD or analog composite video signals or whatever notation is convenient).

      Optical disc technology is a bit of a strange thing. People seem to constantly be "inventing" new optical storage methods yet 40+ years later in the real world, our optical discs are essentially exactly the same technology that was introduced with LaserDisc in 1978, just miniaturized and using shorter wavelengths of light.

  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday February 04 2021, @01:58PM (1 child)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday February 04 2021, @01:58PM (#1108885) Journal

    They are confident the advancement will help with the explosion of remote data storage during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

    This won't be available for years, if at all. I guess the pandemic could become semi-permanent though.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Thursday February 04 2021, @05:08PM

      by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 04 2021, @05:08PM (#1108964) Homepage Journal

      Covid-19 may last forever, the way influenza keeps coming back and requiring new vaccines year after year.
      In any case, it will last at least as long as it takes to vaccinate everybody, and it looks like there won't be significant vaccination of Africa this year.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @03:55PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @03:55PM (#1108940)

    I'm pretty skeptical that we'll ever see this in a commercial product. Enhancements to optical media are always announced and seemingly never released. I'm still waiting on the "Holographic Versatile Disc" that was announced 15 or so years ago that would hold terabytes, for example. There were many other new formats like that announced and never released. It's 2021 and you have to pay an arm and a leg to import 128GB bluray discs from Japan and that's the largest format you can get. It's hard to back stuff up to an optical storage when we're working with terabytes these days and even if you do the discs might not last very long.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday February 04 2021, @04:22PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday February 04 2021, @04:22PM (#1108949) Journal

      I remember the 6 TB Holographic Versatile Disc, and other stories about 1 TB Blu-ray discs in the lab. It could have been great.

      Archival Disc of at least 300 GB is around, but not at a good price: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/983358-REG/sony_odc300r_archive_cartridge_300gb_write.html [bhphotovideo.com]

      The problem is that there probably will not be another consumer-oriented optical disc format. There's a faint possibility of getting one with a capacity bump (300 GB?) for the purpose of storing 8K movies, but with discs on the decline it's seeming less likely:

      An 8K disc format is unlikely. Here's why [flatpanelshd.com]
      Mixed Signs for the Future of Movies, TV on Disc [mesaonline.org]

      Optical isn't necessarily dead. If some technology can put 10 TB on a disc, and several discs are put in an enclosure, suddenly you have a viable competitor to HDDs for bulk storage. But like the Archival Disc, it won't be aimed at consumers.

      There's definitely a need for a couple of new technologies to reach consumers. Something holographic, ideally rewritable, that could store at least hundreds of terabytes. And some kind of universal memory that can replace DRAM and NAND, or at least a decent NAND replacement that is as cheap, but faster and more durable. 3D NAND has set back the search for a replacement by 10-20 years.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @08:04PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04 2021, @08:04PM (#1109024)

        It's all a big maybe.

        Optical discs took off originally because people needed that much data and couldn't store or transmit it any other way. 600MB CDs vs a 56k modem that would have taken a full day to download the same amount of data, not to mention the hard disk space needed to store it. DVD and Blu-ray didn't quite keep pace with the increasing power and capacity of computers, but they still kept up with the data they were used to hold.

        The real difference is that suddenly there was a huge increase in Internet speeds. But nobody can promise that will keep happening forever. A blu-ray delivering 100mbit is in the same ballpark as most people's Internet download speeds. I recently got gigabit, but I don't expect faster Internet than that for a decade, if not longer.

        Optical will come back if there's a need for faster data than that... And the other technical risk to streaming is data caps. If Internet backbone speeds become the bottleneck, data caps are going to stay a thing. We might even see the return of software (at least, games) on physical discs if computer storage capacity continues to climb into the dozens of terabytes while monthly data limits stay in the 1TB range.

        There's also the chance that optical media is a thing for media again because it's standardized and you don't have to subscribe to ten different services to watch it. This has always been true for movies as well as TV shows old enough to be released on disc - old fashioned Netflix by mail gives you ten times the choice at a fraction of the price of streaming - but maybe it will become a thing for current "stream only" TV shows as well. In a lot of ways streaming is just the new theater.

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