When people think of holograms, they may think of the small insignia on credit cards that appear to move as you rotate the card. Or they may think of recent rock concert spectacles featuring realistic 3-D performances by singers who are no longer alive. Whitney Houston, Roy Orbison, Tupac Shakur, Buddy Holly and Ronnie James Dio drew rave reviews from fans in ‘live’ performances made possible by holography even though they all have been dead for years.
Holograms consist of a series of special types of image created by laser using diffraction to project a three-dimensional image, preserving depth and parallax aspects of the original image.
Invented by a Hungarian physicist Dennis Gabor in the 1940s, the technology is now playing a key role in efforts to create new modes of storage in an era in which global digital content is growing exponentially.
In view of ever greater storage demands, Microsoft’s AI research labs at Cambridge partnered with colleagues at cloud storage giant Azure to rethink storage solutions based on holography.
The initiative—Project HSD (Holographic Storage Device)—was announced at Microsoft’s virtual Ignite 2020 conference this week.
The project continues on the work begun under Project Silica in 2017, at which time Microsoft explained that traditional cloud storage methods are no longer sufficient to keep up with skyrocketing storage needs.