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Wanted: Literal Vaporware

What's the Latest Development?

The US' Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced the creation of a program, Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR), that involves developing "transient" electronic components that will work just like their normal counterparts but will include a destruct feature that, when triggered, causes them to dissolve, making them useless to anyone who encounters them. A Proposers' Day meeting is scheduled for February, at which attendees will receive more information about the program and its goals.

What's the Big Idea?

In battle conditions, devices are often left behind, which can then be picked up by enemy forces and studied or repurposed. Unlike previous types of transient electronics, which require immersion in water, DARPA program manager Alicia Jackson says that this new proposed class should be able to self-destruct via a remote signal or a particular environmental condition, such as temperature. "This is a tall order, and we imagine a multidisciplinary approach. Teams will likely need industry experts who understand circuits, integration, and, design. Performers from the material science community will be sought to develop novel substrates.  There’s lots of room for innovation by clever people with diverse expertise."

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