Right out of sci-fi movie, Microsoft has demonstrated a work in process storage solution code named “Project Silica” which will use ultrafast laser and AI to store data in quartz glass.
How it works
The data is encoded in a glass with a laser which creates nanoscale grating in 3 dimension. there can be multiple layers of such grating called “voxel”. In order to read the data, polarised light is passed through glass and decoded using AI.
Not only it looks cool, the storage media us almost indestructible. The hard silica glass survived being boiled, scratched, scoured, demagnetised, microwaved, as well as baked in an oven, without any loss of data. Not to mention the storage solution is of low cost.
For storage of data for long term purposes, this material can be of immense usage as any other media to store data are indestructible example Gard disks which tend to wear out in few years and magnetic tapes are not only too volatile but retrieval is also difficult. Film studios storing films in digital format can use this technology.
This Project is in the proof-of-concept stage, but as per Microsoft Azure’s chief technology officer, Mark Russinovich, says that the technology has moved ahead from development stage to refinement stage and this see its commercial availability soon enough.
I’m not saying all of the questions have been fully answered, but it looks like we’re now in a phase where we’re working on refinement and experimentation, rather asking the question ‘can we do it?’
Here is the video of the presentation for a complete explanation of the system.
Read more about the superman inspired storage solution at the Microsoft Blog.