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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: 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.

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  • (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.

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