M-Discs: Stone-like optical discs that are nearly indestructible

By on August 9, 2011, 8:30 AM

LG and Millenniata, a new startup, plan to launch a new storage format with optical discs that far exceed the average life expectancy of your average optical disc, hard drive, flash storage -- or human for that matter. Whereas conventional storage mediums have an average lifespan of six months to eight years depending on the technology, data stored on LG and Millenniata's M-Disc doesn't suffer the same deterioration and will last forever.

Billed as a "permanent" storage solution, the M-Disc is manufactured out of an undisclosed natural stone-like substance that doesn't degrade over time and lacks the reflective layer found in traditional optical discs including CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays. In conjunction with that mystery material, an M-Disc recorder uses lasers to etch pits in the disc. "Once the mark is made, it's permanent" Millenniata CEO Scott Shumway told Computerworld.

Along with being impervious to wear and tear, the M-Disc is virtually indestructible under high-stress situations that would cripple conventional storage. For instance, the company shows an M-Disc being submerged in liquid nitrogen and then boiling hot water without suffering any errors or delamination to the disc. Another clip shows someone fruitlessly smashing an M-Disc against a table, while normal discs shatter under those circumstances.

If that's not convincing enough, the US Department of Defense ran some stringent tests comparing the long-term durability of Millenniata's M-Disc to other formats. The DoD's conclusion: "None of the Millenniata media suffered any data degradation at all. Every other brand tested showed large increases in data errors after the stress period. Many of the discs were so damaged that they could not be recognized as DVDs by the disc analyzer."

The M-Disc is expected to hit shelves sometime in October for around $3 per disc and they'll be backed by a lifetime warranty. Millenniata's discs have the same data capacity as standard DVDs (4.7GB) and they're backward compatible with existing DVD drives, so once data is stored on an M-Disc, you'll be able to access the data on nearly any computer. Based on our understanding, you'll only have to buy a new M-Disc burner to write data.




User Comments: 25

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Gars Gars said:

Based on our understanding, you'll only have to buy a new M-Disc burner to write data.

only $2-3k i guess

anyway, it's unexpected to see such a major improvement in this area...

Guest said:

When CDs came out in the 80s they were supposed to be nearly indestructible too.....

treeski treeski said:

How heavy will they be? =P

It would be nice if they were able to increase the disc capacity to at least blu-ray size. These days, data is getting bigger and bigger.

Guest said:

... but cd's material dry out and become brittle over time.

CryVer CryVer said:

Would be nice to have a M Blu-Ray Disk that I could use for backup

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

Now if only I could read those crystal skulls with an m-drive.

Guest said:

This is perfect for family photo's / video's.

Stupido Stupido said:

and to carve laws in sto... pardon, M-discs... :-P

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

really love the concept & wish to see it applied to blurays too :P

i really had a laugh with your comments .. +thumbs ..

cheers!

KG363 KG363 said:

Love the idea, but the world is moving to bluray, albeit slowly

ebolamonkey3 said:

Man, $3/ disk. I guess if they ever get big enough, it could be used to permanently backup stuff, but at 4.7gb/disc, too small

anguis said:

so does this mean you can finally use the discs as a coaster while you arent using them in the computer? dual use!

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

Physical media is dying, they will become a niche market for backups or other storage needs. Blu-ray has never taken off like CDs did and it never will, people buy more music online now than on physical media and I'm sure this trend will catch up with Movies, etc.

Guest said:

it will be a great way to archive 'home' or family data.. take a few m-disc's to the safety deposit box...

MilwaukeeMike said:

wait.... they have the same polycarbonate layer as a regular CD... so it won't degrade or snap in half, but it'll still pick up scratches then wouldn't it?

I'd much rather have a scratch proof disc.

The5Xfactor said:

OK! Let's say I burn one of those 'super' disks with my Tax data on it.. then later, I decide to erase this data for safety reasons.. Now what should I do?

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

the5xfactor said:

OK! Let's say I burn one of those 'super' disks with my Tax data on it.. then later, I decide to erase this data for safety reasons.. Now what should I do?

Bury it deep underground so our descendants will find it, and base their understanding of the economy of the early 21st century on your tax records.

Guest said:

mario

on August 9, 2011

1:46 PM ................."Physical media is dying"

Name a non physical media.

Guest said:

Forever. That would be a first for the universe as we know it.

BS off the port bow!

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Physical media is dying, they will become a niche market for backups or other storage needs. Blu-ray has never taken off like CDs did and it never will, people buy more music online now than on physical media and I'm sure this trend will catch up with Movies, etc.

To some extent that is true with regard to ordinary users. But all that cloudy stuff is leading us towards a) a less open web, b) put corporations controlling them in charge of what you can and can't do.

I have lots of discussions on this subject and none of IT people I know are interested to place all of their company's data in the hands of other corporations. So at least in the short to medium term I think storage mediums will remain in demand for much of the businesses.

lopdog lopdog said:

Sounds great with a disk that can't be destroyed, most DVD's have very limited lifetime, but shouldn't they try to make Blu-ray. Who would buy an expensive recorder with only 4.7Gb capacity? That's not very much nowadays.

Guest said:

that thing is good but others will try to stop it...its not good for business to create that kind of devices....so i think that we wont see this technology

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

(Edit:CC "a burner would cost)...only $2-3k i guess

anyway, it's unexpected to see such a major improvement in this area...

You don't use a burner, just a hammer and chisel... In this way, it's sort of a like tombstone for data; "here lies data, forever". Sort of brings a whole new dimension to the term, "RIP data", doesn't it?

Guest said:

You can still destroy them, you just have to physically, like in a CD shredder :) Although I bet it would take a realy strong one to do that...

This is oooollld though.. This technology came ages ago. One of my good friends new the guy who pioneered it and developed it at BYU, and they've been trying to sell the machines to my work for a few years now. Looks like they've sponsored some more tests and done some re-releases in hopes that it'll appear as something new :) Where I worked, though, nobody wanted to pay the premium (and I worked in digital archival helping people put their vhs tapes onto DVDs... we prided ourselves in using the premium 'Archival' quality DVDs)

The5Xfactor said:

gwailo247 said:

the5xfactor said:

OK! Let's say I burn one of those 'super' disks with my Tax data on it.. then later, I decide to erase this data for safety reasons.. Now what should I do?

Bury it deep underground so our descendants will find it, and base their understanding of the economy of the early 21st century on your tax records.

LOL

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