Here's a Self-Destructing Chip That Can Protect Top Secret Data

Here's a Self-Destructing Chip That Can Protect Top Secret DataIn case you ever wondered what a top secret agent like Bond should do when he's got very sensitive information on his mobile phone and has to get rid of it really fast, this exploding chip could be your answer.

However, many of you would think that he could simply burn the phone or throw it away in some lake, river or sea. Well, that has 50/50 chances of succeeding, since some mobile phones don't really get destroyed that quickly by fire, and although throwing your phone in the water might work, there are some chances that it could be found.

On the other hand, if you destroy only the chip with valuable data on it, completely and instantaneously, there won't be any need to throw or burn precious hardware. In this regard, the same guys that basically invented modern desktop PCs, the Xerox PARC, built the self-destructing chip as part of DARPA's Vanishing Programmable Resources project.

To actually make it successful, they used Gorilla Glass instead of plastic, metal or silicon so it can explode in many tiny particles. Moreover, to make it explode without employing any sort of gunpowder or derivatives, the team tempered the glass to build in stress from ion exchange, as they told IDG. When it's heavily stressed, the glass will shatter and disintegrate the moment it is laser triggered.

The team demonstrated the glass chip at a DARPA event, and they managed to make it shatter with a laser pointer to trigger the ion exchange. The chip blew up and afterwards exploded into even smaller pieces, making a chip reconstruction impossible. Apparently, the self-destruction process can be triggered not only via laser but also by radio signals or a physical switch.
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