With a little help from Pentagon funds, Darpa, the Defense Advanced Research Agency, has been developing devices that will be able to self-destruct on command.
In order to render themselves inactive, and effectively transform into thin strands of mush, devices begin to biodegrade when exposed to water. And thus, biological fluids and other liquids.
Such transient electronics would prove useful in multiple applications, including use for medicinal and military purposes. In healthcare facilities, devices could be placed within post-operative wounds to monitor for signs of infections, dissolving into the patient’s bodily fluids over time. During military missions, the technology could be deployed to observe conditions beyond enemy lines; only to dissipate before any possible detection.
Currently, researchers are still perfecting the ability of devices to self-destruct within a set span of time. Another main concern is how devices will destruct after use without direct contact with water or in an area that isn’t exposed to high levels of moisture. Let alone to do so on demand without these critical conditions.
Perhaps this could be solved by encasing devices in hydro-spheres, wherein upon the command to self-destruct the device would puncture the liquid-encased capsule and thereby release the water needed to enable its demise. Furthermore, wireless transmission isn’t always so effective when inserted deep into the body, detracting from its appeal in medical applications. But, biomedical innovations take time, a lot of it, it turns out. And devices in particular may take an upward of 10 years to perfect.
As such, you may not encounter this technology yourself anytime soon. In the meantime, the devices have piqued the military’s curiosity. This is no small feat, as military testing is often crucial to the success of new technology. In large part due to their expendable budget and demand for technological innovation.
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