DARPA is working on self-destructing electronics and vanishing batteries

DARPA, the United States’ military research agency, has announced its intention to fund and develop technology that self-destructs. For example, DARPA would like a high-resolution camera sensor self-destructs when it receives a certain radio signal from military command, preventing it from being used by the enemy. Other methods of self destruction are also being investigated, though, such as technology that degrades quickly under certain conditions.

For about a year now, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been looking to develop a favorite tool of movie spies everywhere: electronics that self-destruct on command. Now DARPA is starting to disburse funding to build them, with the latest contracts going to both IBM and PARC, a company owned by Xerox. According to Military & Aerospace, it’s part of DARPA’s Vanishing Programmable Resources(VAPR) program, through which the agency hopes to build electronics that are comparable performance-wise to anything off the shelf, but that can turn to dust on command. While the utility of such devices is pretty obvious, DARPA’s official reasoning is a fascinating look at the networked battlefield.

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