A joint research agreement between Nintendo and InPhase Technologies suggests a radical future storage approach...
Since the beginning of Wii, Nintendo's loyal followers have voiced their unanimous opinion; recently even Nintendo's top brass have admitted to it becoming an issue. The simple fact of the matter is the Wii just doesn't have enough storage space to encourage Nintendo's plans for WiiWare, Virtual Console and future expansions.
However, it seems that the problem, once notoriously labelled as solely for "nerds and otakus", could possibly draw upon a revolutionary approach if a patent that was issued earlier in the year is anything to go by.
"Miniature flexure based scanners for angle multiplexing" from inventor Bradley J Sissom, is the complicated sounding title for a solution to increasing the capacity of holographic data storage. Intriguingly Nintendo appear on the patent as joint applicants.
A brief education courtesy of Wikipedia reveals that holographic storage requires a laser to be split into two beams. Data to be stored is encoded onto the signal beam via the special light modulator, before converging with the reference beam and stored onto a photosensitive medium. Reading the data from the medium relies upon a beam being emitted onto the medium at precisely the same angle, wavelength, and position of the reference beam.
Unlocking the greater capacity offered by holographic storage relies upon adjusting the reference beam during the recording/writing phase. Altering the beam allows multiple holograms to be stored in the same volume on the holographic storage medium, which is where the patent comes into play.
InPhase Technologies has lots of information on the technology, and intriguingly appear on the patent alongside Nintendo as joint applicants.
"... disclosure is herein made that the claimed invention was made pursuant to a Joint Research Agreement as defined in 35 U.S.C. 103 (c)(3), that was in effect on or before the date the claimed invention was made, and as a result of activities undertaken within the scope of the Joint Research Agreement, by or on the behalf of Nintendo Co., and InPhase Technologies, Inc."
Joint Research Agreement "... a written contract, grant, or cooperative agreement entered into by two or more persons or entities for the performance of experimental, developmental, or research work in the field of the claimed invention."
Could Nintendo be upping the stakes for its next format or is this the replacement to the aborted DVD drive that will become the Wii's savior? Chances are it's merely one of the countless patents that are left on the drawing room floor.
This seems pretty amazing. More info here, here, and here