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Microdrive Gets Bigger...But Not Larger

Techstination feature for Thursday, July 13, 2000

It's not much bigger than a quarter, and now it can hold up to a gigabyte of data. IBM has tripled the capacity, but not the size of its microdrive, a tiny hard drive that fits into a type II CompactFlash slot. What's the big deal about such a little thing? Peter Hortensius, director of Technology Development at IBM's Personal System's Group, says for one thing, the microdrive makes wearable computers, really wearable. You've seen these far out wearable computers in commercials, but what can they really be used for? About a hundred prototypes being tested have proven their worth...

"In the case of a doctor, a quick update on what the patient record is. In the case of a power turbine repairman, this is a machine the size of a room and it's got a manual about the size of a room and he quickly needs to know... was that the green wire before the red wire or the red wire before the green wire when he's repairing it. And this gives him a quick way to see... oh, yeah, it's red before green and he plugs it in correctly."

You may not be walking around with a wearable computer anytime soon, but you may find a microdrive in your pocket anyway. In digital cameras, they can store hundreds or even thousands of images. They can hold a thousand, 200 page digital books that you can carry in a PocketPC. Or if you prefer, 18 hours of your favorite digital music. You can tune us in at Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin for CBS News.