Press Release: Hitachi Uses ESP & Other Shocking Technologies To Protect Hard Drive Data; Hitachi ''Extra Sensory Protection'' Technology Gives New ''Mikey'' Hard Drive A Soft Landing

Sept. 2, 2005--With hard disk drives increasingly used in portable consumer electronics, Hitachi has taken a number of precautionary measures to safeguard the storage component from data loss in the event of a fall. The most recent of these measures is a technology called ESP or Extra Sensory Protection(TM), which Hitachi believes should be as essential to hard-drive-based devices as airbags are to cars.

Acting like a sixth sense, ESP uses a 3-axis accelerometer -- a type of drop sensor -- to detect a fall in as short as four inches (10 cm). This in turn activates the hard drive controller to suspend a read or write operation and park the head safely away from the surface of the disk. By "unloading" the read/write head, the drive is placed into non-operational mode, avoiding potential head/disk contact -- the most common cause of data loss. In effect, Hitachi's ESP technology renders every shock or impact to be a non-operational one, significantly increasing the overall shock tolerance of the hard drive and, more importantly, the overall safety of consumers' data.
ESP will be especially useful in emerging hard-drive-based smart phones, which may experience greater user handling and, potentially, a greater number of drops than other types of consumer devices. Hitachi is offering ESP as an optional feature on the Microdrive 3K8 -- the world's smallest one-inch hard drive, also known as "Mikey." With ESP and other Hitachi shock-proofing technologies, Mikey proves to be the most shock-resistant hard drive on the market with a non-operational shock rating of 2000 Gs. ESP will be available on Mikey in December of this year.
"We've been successfully studying and implementing shock-protection mechanisms on hard drives for many years, but the explosion of hard-drive-based consumer electronics has brought about renewed focus due to the more rigorous environments in which hard drives operate today," said John Best, chief technologist, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "We believe ESP technology opens up a broad range of applications and environments where the high capacity of miniature hard drives -- like Mikey -- can be leveraged with peace of mind."
Developed by Hitachi Metals, the drop sensor component being used on Mikey features the ability to accurately detect a fall from three axes (X, Y, Z) simultaneously. In addition, the minute packaging of the sensor (3.4mm x 3.7mm x 0.92 mm) allows it to be placed on the smallest hard drives, including the one-inch Microdrive, where it is situated on the drive's printed circuit board. A demonstration of the drop sensor in action will be performed at the Hitachi Technology Suite at IFA all this week (Hall FG-2121).
Other Shocking Technologies
In addition to ESP, Hitachi uses a variety of shock-proofing technologies to protect the hard drive from data loss, especially on Mikey:
-- Snubbers: corner bumpers isolate the hard drive from surrounding host device components, reducing impact to the drive by up to 50 percent of what the host device actually sustains; effectively doubles the non-operating shock tolerance;
-- Head load/unload: Hitachi-patented technology, now widely used throughout the industry, moves the read/write head off disk surface while not operating to reduce incidence of head/disk contact; used in conjunction with drop sensors to comprise ESP technology;
-- Servo: series of technologies, patented by Hitachi as "TrueTrack," uses closed-loop, digital-control system to maintain precision in track positioning of the read/write head even under adverse conditions;
-- Femto slider: a 30-percent reduction in slider size -- the tiny flying wing supporting the read/write head above the surface of the disk -- increases shock performance by 25 percent over previous pico slider technology.
Hitachi owns a broad patent portfolio which includes patents for shock-related technologies on hard disk drives, including the use of drop sensors.
About Hitachi Global Storage Technologies
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies was founded in 2003 as a result of the strategic combination of Hitachi's and IBM's storage technology businesses. Hitachi GST is the industry's second largest hard disk drive manufacturer in revenue.
The company's goal is to enable users to fully engage in the digital lifestyle by providing access to large amounts of storage capacity in formats suitable for the office, on the road and in the home. The company offers customers worldwide a comprehensive range of storage products for desktop computers, high-performance servers and mobile devices. For more information on Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, please visit the company's web site at
About Hitachi, Ltd.
Hitachi, Ltd., (NYSE: HIT), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading global electronics company with approximately 347,000 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2004 (ended March 31, 2005) consolidated sales totaled 9,027.0 billion yen ($84.4 billion). The company offers a wide range of systems, products and services in market sectors including information systems, electronic devices, power and industrial systems, consumer products, materials and financial services. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company's web site at

Posted: Fri - September 2, 2005 at 08:47 AM