Racetrack Memory Can Make Your Hard Drive 100,000 Times Faster In 5 Years

Remember the good ol’ days of VHS tape (if you can call them that)? Well, it seems those days are back. Before you start to laugh or roll your eyes, it should be said that there won’t be any large, blocky, plastic cassettes to insert into a player. Rather, scientists from the EPFL school in Switzerland are using the same nickel-iron material to make nonowires that can store bits of information magnetically. The interesting part is both the speed and the amount of memory that can be put on the chip. When a user decides to access that memory, it simply gets pushed around inside the tape using a spin polarized current which allows it to go several hundred miles per second. Of course, the real beauty of the design is that billions of these nanowires could be embedded on a chip providing a seriously large capacity hard drive that would also be shock proof at the same time.

Of course, the real question is if we will even see this technology in our lifetime. I can’t tell you how many times I hear about a cool new technology only to be completely deflated when I read at the end of the announcement that it won’t be available until sometime after the apocalypse. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with racetrack memory. Since the scientists who discovered the speed of racetrack memory have a great relationship with IBM, they are saying we could be seeing this as a market-ready product in 5-7 years. A technology that can make hard drives 100,000 times faster than current models in 5 years time? I suppose we can all live with that.

I’m sure you don’t need to be convinced of the huge potential this technology has for video editing. With read and write speeds being 100,000 times faster, we could have applications that open up instantaneously and video that renders twice as fast as what you could possibly get right now without an SSD. As video editors, I’m sure that’s something we can all tip our hats to.

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Dan Bruns is an award winning cinematographer and editor.