Today, hundreds of gigabytes on tiny flash drives look as ordinary as possible, although not so long ago the disk was the main storage medium, and flash drives seemed to be something of a fantasy.
It is not yet clear when we will get some completely new type of media, but science fiction decades ago described one of the options – crystal. Science has long said that information in huge volumes can be stored in crystals, metals, and almost everywhere, but this is often far from the modern level of technological development of mankind.
But Microsoft with its new development shows that the future has already arrived in a certain sense. The company introduced the Project Silica project, in which it proposes to store information in glass.
More precisely, we are talking about a carrier measuring 75 x 75 x 2 mm with a capacity of 75.6 GB, which is a glass plate. All the “magic”, of course, is not in the material, but in the recording technology. As stated in the press release, the laser encodes the data in the glass, creating layers of three-dimensional nanoscale lattices and deformations at various depths and at different angles. For reading information, a system with artificial intelligence is used.
Microsoft claims that such a medium is able to store information even under extreme conditions such as boiling, high temperatures (baking in the oven), exposure to microwave radiation, demagnetization, and more.
Microsoft also says that such media is suitable primarily for “cold” data storage, that is, when you need to save information as long as possible, but access to it is extremely rare.
Unfortunately, it is unclear how close Project Silica is to commercial use. Microsoft does not talk about introducing the technology, although it clarifies that the development is not theoretical: the company managed to record and then read from 1978 Superman media. In this case, Microsoft’s partner is Warner Bros., which is interested in cold storage technology. The press release said that Microsoft wants to significantly increase the speed of writing and reading data, as well as storage density.