Back in July, Pioneer announced that it had developed the world's first 16-layer optical disc with a capacity of 400GB. Following new research conducted by its engineers in Japan, the company has now announced that a 20-layer 500GB disc is feasible.

A 20-layer optical disc is now viable, following research by our team of engineers at Pioneer HQ, Tokyo. Each layer of the disc can store 25GB of information to provide a mammoth 500GB of storage.

The news follows the International Symposium on Optical Memory (ISOM) and Optical Data Storage, held during July in Hawaii, where Pioneer Corporation presented its research, defining draft specifications for the 500 GB disc.

The ISOM had previously outlined the industry objective of creating a 20-layer disc to be available between 2010-2012.

It will be interesting to see if Pioneer's technology pans out. While optical formats are slowly being phased out in favor of flash media and technologies like video on demand, there is still a need for cheap, high capacity storage for things like backups. If you'd like to read more, Pioneer's entire announcement can be found here.