Terabyte nanotech thumb drives around the corner?

Wired has a write-up of a new storage technology developed at Arizona State University that could produce flash thumb drives capable of storing terabytes of data in the near future, that also happens to be cheaper and more energy efficient than flash memory. The new technology has been branded programmable metallization cell, and differs from present storage technologies in that it "creates nanowires from copper atoms the size of a virus to record binary ones and zeros." It all sounds very interesting -- if slightly too optimistic -- to us, and we'll get to find out relatively soon just how effective the new chips are: Arizona State's business arm has licensed the technology to three companies, which may be ready to sell a product containing the chips within 18 months. Watch this space.