Researchers at the RICE university have managed to create a transparent memory made by silicon oxide sandwiched between graphene electrodes and supported by plastic. The resulting product, as you can see in the photo on the left, is completely transparent.
The work is the result of a 5 year program that created all the tiny pieces needed for such a memory.
The researched started to find a way to store bits in a material that was impervious to cosmic radiations and a few chips have indeed been tested aboard the Space Station in orbit.
The researches noted that a strong voltage could break strings of carbon atoms but a lower voltage would cause them to break and then to rejoin. Associating 1 to interruption and 0 to continuity can make for a storage device.
Clearly, moving from a conceptual possibility to something that can work, and be produces by industry at low cost and in large amount, is quite a different matter. This explains the time it took the researchers to reach this point.
A bonus, not originally planned, is the transparency. Silicon oxide is like glass, it is transparent and the carbon layer is just one atom thick, and so it is transparent as well.
A transparent memory can be placed in windshields keeping them transparent. Today we have means to project on the windshield information so that one can overlay information on the line of sight of the driver.
This overlaid projection, however, is no particularly good and requires a lot of power to make the information visible in daylight. It would be much better if one can have the windshield doubling up as a screen.
Indeed, this is what I saw at a both at the ITU workshop in Dubai. I took a picture of it and it is shown here. The visibility is very good also in full daylight so it can really be a solution in a few years.