May 12, 2021 | Updated: 08:45 AM EDT

A Self-Destructing Chip Has Been Born

Sep 14, 2015 03:35 AM EDT

If the concept reminds you of a scene straight out of Mission Impossible, it’s because the idea may have been lifted right off the spy-thriller franchise. PARC, in collaboration with DARPA, created a microchip that self-destructs when triggered.

Apparently, the engineers at Palo Alto Research Center Incorporated have found a way to build the self-destructing chip. The mechanism is such that, when heat from laser or intensely focused light is applied on the chip, a process of disintegration is triggered. The chip not only breaks up into shards of glass, it also breaks up into further microscopic pieces, leaving nothing but dust in its wake. Along with the disintegration of the chip, the data inside the chip will be lost forever, as well.

The microchip’s creation is part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s Vanishing Programmable Resources project. The chip was unveiled at the agency’s “Wait, What?” event, which is a symposium for future technology.

The chip’s glass material is made of Corning Gorilla Glass that was modified to shatter when stress from heat is induced. While the chip is at its first stages of development, it looks like the researchers are looking to induce self-destruction with the flip of a switch. With this, you can imagine how the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, as well as the Interpol will be looking to integrate that kind of technology into their intelligence operations.

Increasingly, technology resembling the spy movies we only watched on the silver screen is coming to life. Imagine the libraries of data and communications that can be kept protected thanks to this new chip.

Ashley Madison could have benefited from motherboards made of this chip. Hillary Clinton’s email server could have, as well.

But then, had they used this technology, the implications of their actions would never have been brought to life.

The world at-large should hope that these self-destructing chips would never fall into the hands of evil elements.


Palo Alto Research Center Incorporated was formerly known as Xerox PARC.

For more information on the chip:

Visit DARPA’s “Wait, What?” Page:

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