Microsoft researchers used a laser to store 'Superman' on glass - Josh Loe

Microsoft researchers used a laser to store ‘Superman’ on glass


  • Microsoft said its researchers stored the Warner Bros. film “Superman” on a piece of quartz glass the size of a coaster.
  • The feat was a proof of concept for a years-long effort to store data in glass. The researchers used a combination of laser optics and artificial intelligence.
  • The glass is designed to last hundreds of years and withstand being baked, microwaved, scoured, doused in water, demagnetized, and subject to “other environmental threats.”
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Microsoft said its researchers had produced a piece of glass that is 7.5 centimeters long and 2 millimeters thick and contains the entire 1978 film “Superman.”

The feat is the culmination of years of research, made possible by recent advances in ultra-fast laser optics and artificial intelligence, Microsoft said in November.

Researchers used lasers to carve tiny three-dimensional etchings into the glass’s surface that could be read by machine-learning algorithms trained to look at the patterns created when a light is shined through the glass.

The research builds on other Microsoft projects that aim to store data more efficiently in the long term. A concurrent project is centered on an invention dubbed Pelican that uses cold storage to preserve dozens of disk drives, The Register reported.

Microsoft isn’t the only company exploring cutting-edge long-term storage tech. Millenniata, a startup founded in 2009, has said it developed ultra-durable DVDs that will be readable for 1,000 years.

Lab photos show the meticulous process behind Microsoft’s latest accomplishment. Take a look:



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