Quote Originally Posted by lxdude View Post
According to a different article I read, a laser is used to engrave it. An optical microscope is used to read it. It's digital information. So the reading part is going to have to develop.

It's obviously only a proof of concept at this time. The only threat to film that I can see is storage of movies on film, so it would be one more thing film is no longer used for.
I meant to ask what kind of equipment will the user need when this comes to market?
Right now, this probably takes a laboratory full of scientific equipment. The consumer, not even a technician for a government agency or a conservator in a museum, is never going to want to use bare lasers and optical microscopes with digicams mounted in the eyepiece. They are not going to like having cables running, haphazardly over their table tops. They are going to want a box that has a power cable and a data cable coming out of the back, a little slot in the front panel and a couple of buttons to control the thing.

Ideally, they are going to want one box that will read and write the data. I can't imagine anybody buying two devices, one to write data and another to read data.
I suppose, if it's possible to use an already-existing film scanner, it would be possible to read the data with equipment that the user already owns.

This all begs the question of software. Who's going to write it? When will it be available for a given operating system?
What format will this data be written in? Who owns the software that decodes it? Will the user be at the mercy of the manufacturer to read his own data if and when software updates change that format?

I am often called upon to rescue data that other people have stored using now-defunct software that can't be used anymore.
I had one guy who was going on a business trip to a trade show and all the information that he needed was saved using Microsoft Works. Current versions of Microsoft Word usually don't support Works files. As I came to find out, neither do many other programs support them. It took me a good chunk of an afternoon to find a program that could read it. (Neo Office, IRRC.) If I didn't find that program and help the guy get his data out of that archaic format and into something that he could use, his business might have been sunk!

Yes, these little, glass slips will last a gazillion years but will we be able to read the data off them 25 years from now?

I just can't imagine that some multimillion dollar company betting the farm on some technology that hasn't been proven and that they don't have any guarantees that they will have software that can read back their data after 25 years.