Analyzing paper storage breakthrough claims

ArsTechnica takes on the task of debunking the recent claims of 450+ Gig of data stored on plain paper. I remember reading originally about this fantastic new technology and something didn’t feel right about it. That’s probably a result of decades of tech interest. But I just couldn’t figure out why the claim didn’t seem to hold water. If you ever wondered if the ArsTechnica folks are really smart or just SMRT, check their brief discussion on unrealistic paper storage claims. Here are the most relevant bits, but I’m skipping a number of details from the discussion and the pretty picture.

The system allegedly works by encoding data into small geometrical shapes (circles, squares, and triangles) in various colors, then printing them out on a piece of paper. A scanner is used to read the data back in to the computer.

However, despite technological advances in scanning and printing technology since [the early days of paper storage], Abideen’s claims quite simply do not hold water. A little bit of math is in order here. Starting with a scanner with a maximum resolution of 1,200 dots per inch, this leads to a maximum of 1,440,000 dots per square inch, or just over 134 million dots on a sheet of standard 8.5″ by 11″ paper (excluding margins).

… a maximum theoretical storage of 134MB, which would likely go down to under 100MB after error correction.

Now this technology may come out, wow us all, and be the greatest storage advance in years (or decades). However, for now it has the smell of the world record python in Indonesia.

[tags]Massive paper storage tech debunked?, ArsTechnica on paper storage revoluation[/tags]