World's Largest Floppy Disk Drive

Engineers at Common Door, while working on the next version of the PIT computer, stumbled on a revolutionary principle. Cutting through the mathematical jargon and formulae, the breakthrough can be stated simply "that a bigger disk holds more data." The engineers then set out to find out if there is an upper limit to this principle. Computer simulations on the PIT computer indicated that disks would continue to hold more data as their size increased up to diameter of 32,767 millimeters but then the run abruptly blew up. Consequently, the engineers concluded that a physical prototype must be constructed. The photo shows the first prototype with a diameter of 32,768 millimeters (about 107 feet).

When revolving at the standard speed of 78 rpm, the outer edge travels at well over 55 mph. The California Highway Patrol picked this up in a radar trap but a liberal judge gave the engineers at Common Door the go-ahead "as long as you keep it off the road." Experiments with speeds of 30,000 rpm are now being conducted to see what happens when the outer edge exceeds the speed of light (and electrons). A Common Door spokesperson said, "At these speeds we expect some very high data transfer rates."

Common Door expects to release the consumer version of this product at the summer CES. In keeping with the high quality control and extensive testing of other PIT peripherals, Common Door would not promise delivery until "August 1980 at the very latest." Pricing was not announced.

From Creative Computing, April 1980.

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This page was last edited October 30, 2005