NRAM: The Next Generation of Memory TechnologyMarch 13, 2017 No Comments
Featured article by Rick DelGado, Independent Technology Author
The tech industry is notorious for its unquenchable thirst for upgrade. With new models and generations of the same product being released often several times per year, this is an easy trend to detect. This idea is to increase or optimize speed, capacity, durability or versatility. “Innovate or die.” That’s the mantra. In keeping with this trend, Massachusetts-based tech company Nantero Inc. is cooking up a new and innovative computer memory component that is expected to make major waves: NRAM. According to a BBC report, NRAM, which is set for mass production in its most updated form next year, is expected to grow 65% in the first five years. Oh, and this growth will occur in an embedded systems market that is forecast to grow in value from 4.7 million to 217.6 million in the same time frame. With this kind of growth as a backdrop, here are a few things you need to know about what NRAM is and what impact it could have on the future of the tech industry.
One of the most unique things about NRAM is its bold departure from silicon. NRAM is composed – or perhaps woven would be a better word, of carbon nanotubes – so it’s basically carbon fiber. (So if NRAM is woven with fibers instead of being formed from silicon, would we say data web instead of data lake?) One major benefit to this innovative composition is that carbon nanotubes are stront – 50 times stronger than steel to be precise. That, paired with the fact that each fiber is .00002% the thickness of a strand of human hair is pretty impressive. Additionally, NRAM’s is known for terrific resistance to heat – something to the tune of lasting thousands of years in 85 degrees C (185 degrees F) without any negative consequences on data.
According to developers, NRAM is equipped with a unique digital durability. The component is capable of withstanding an almost infinite number of read and write cycle, compared with a comparatively unexciting 100,000 read and write cycles boasted by competitors. And Durability is not the only digitally functional advantage of NRAM. Nantero CEO Greg Schmergel reports that NRAM is capable of offering memory in a format that is significantly denser than notable competing technologies such as NAND flash, which is typically found in USB drives.
With growing momentum behind embedded applications for smartphones and components of the Internet of Things, flexibility and optimization can be valuable qualities in new technology. According to BBC Research, NRAM is expected to have great propensity for customization. This means that it can be molded to suit particular tasks, making it a well suited memory option for hand held and household computer applications for everything from home and car automation to wearables.
NRAM is defying the odds, not only with respect to what is possible with computer server memory, but also with respect to the market. According to analysts, it is rare to see a product, like NRAM, go from zero to hero so quickly. This is particularly true in light of the difficult journey NRAM has had since its birth in the early 2000’s. The memory technology, which has struggled constantly to catch on over the past fifteen years, is characterized by BBC Research correspondents as “a classic David versus Goliath adventure,” only now with the advantageous backing of a major manufacturer.
What does all of this mean for the tech industry? Smaller, faster and more energy efficient memory. Greater durability and versatility under the hood. While all of these exciting advancements will surely bring more innovative and impressive tech gadgets in coming years, they will also likely bring something else: a battle between memory technologies. With a new, high-profile player entering memory technology, competitors have already begun stepping up their game in hopes of coming out on top with the dust settles. Yes, things are looking good for NRAM, according to researchers and developers. Still, in a race as furious as this, nothing is to be taken for granted.
by Rick DelGado, Independent Author
“I’ve been blessed to have a successful career and have recently taken a step back to pursue my passion of writing. I’ve started doing freelance writing and I love to write about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet.” – Rick DelGado
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