IBM is working on a new class of memory that could lead to electronic devices capable of storing far more data in the same amount of space than is possible today, with lightning-fast boot times, far lower cost and unprecedented stability and durability.
The new tech is called racetrack memory, so named because the data “races” around the wire “track.” It is described in detail in two papers published in the April 11 issue of Science by IBM Fellow Stuart Parkin and colleagues at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose. With no moving parts, the technology is described as more durable than todayâ€™s hard drives.
According to the papers, racetrack memory could enable a handheld device such as an mp3 player to store around 500,000 songs or around 3,500 movies â€“ 100 times more than is possible today â€“ with far lower cost and power consumption. The devices would not only store vastly more information in the same space, but also require much less power and generate much less heat, and be practically unbreakable; the result: massive amounts of personal storage that could run on a single battery for weeks at a time and last for decades.