American Military Funding “Self-Destructing” Electronic Development Projects

/ 4 years ago


The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, has provided IBM with a $3.5 million contract to work on its “vanishing programmable resources project” (VARP). The BBC reports that this project is looking to develop a class of transient electronics that can be destroyed by remote control functions. The electronics would be used in combat zones where destroying sensitive electronic equipment before it falls into the wrong hands is a necessity.

IBM’s current proposal involves a radio frequency trigger that shatters a glass coating on a silicon chip before turning it into powder.

“A trigger, such as a fuse or a reactive metal layer will be used to initiate shattering, in at least one location, on the glass substrate.” the US government said in its grant award notice.

The VAPR technology could also have medical users such as the deployment of sensors in the body which can then be absorbed by the body after self-destruction. Of course the technology would require the destruction process, the broken-down end product and the absorption process to be totally safe to the body.

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The US DARPA has also involved several other companies with the same project including Xerox company Palo Alto Research Center (Parc) who were given $2.1 million, Honeywell Aerospace who were awarded $2.5 million and SRI International who received $4.7 million late last year. All the companies are approaching the VARP project from their respective angles but the consensus on outcomes is similar – to create electronics that can be destroyed remotely or that decompose naturally after a specified period of time (built in obsolescence).

Image courtesy of The Hacker News

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