IBM is working on a CMOS chip that will self-destruct on command, turning into silicon dust. Specifically, IBM will experiment with glass shattering techniques that can turn the silicon chips that power today’s gadgets into an unusable powder.
This £3.4m project dubbed Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR) program, which will develop a new class of electronics that can vanish, is being funded by American military’s DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). The goal of the project is to develop technologies that would prevent classified military systems from falling into unfriendly hands.
“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,” DARPA said.
“DARPA is looking for a way to make electronics that last precisely as long as they are needed,” said Alicia Jackson, DARPA program manager.
The need for this type of technology was felt from recent incident, when the highly-modified Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter broke down during the Bin Laden raid and thus exposed the technology and other classified information.