Anyone that has seen Mission: Impossible will remember at the beginning where an agent gets a tape player. The agent listens to the recorded message that always ends by saying it will self destruct in 15 seconds. Thanks to DARPA's VAPR project that is not just a line from a fictional show anymore.
“The commercial off-the-shelf, or COTS, electronics made for everyday purchases are durable and last nearly forever,” said Alicia Jackson, DARPA program manager. “DARPA is looking for a way to make electronics that last precisely as long as they are needed. The breakdown of such devices could be triggered by a signal sent from command or any number of possible environmental conditions, such as temperature.”
The military's defense advanced research project agency (DARPA) has came up with a solution for all of that sensitive hardware that usually gets left on the battlefield. That solution is vanishing programmable resources (VAPR) that can be signaled to partially or entirely self-destruct when a signal is sent to the device. This makes it possible for a soldier that is doing a recon mission to call and transmit the information collected and then simple send a self-destruct signal to the hardware they just used.
A couple of years ago the military had one of their drones shot down and end up in enemy hands. It caused a big concern that the drone could be reverse engineered and used against our people. If that same drone was equiped with some of the new VAPR technology then when it was shot down the commander in charge could have simply sent a sign to the drone telling it to self-destruct rendering it useless to those that captured it.
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