Xerox PARC chip self-destructs on command

One of the many programs that DARPA has been working on is called the vanishing programmable resources project. The idea with this project is to make the electronic devices fielded by the military destroy themselves on command to prevent the tech from falling into enemy hands. One of the products resulting from this project is a chip built by Xerox PARC.

The PARC chip will self-destruct on command and could be used to store data such as encryption keys that could be destroyed on command rendering the keys unrecoverable. Researchers at Xerox working on the project say that they wanted to create a system that was comparable to commercial electronics.

One key to the self-destructing properties of the PARC chip is that it is built on Gorilla Glass, the same Corning Gorilla Glass used to cover the screens of smartphones today. Researchers take that glass and ion-exchange temper it to build in stress. Once the glass is heavily stressed it will break into tiny pieces when heat is applied.

The chip demonstrated by DARPA was stressed to breaking using heat and then when a circuit was switched on and a resistor heated up, the glass shattered. After the initial breakage, the remaining fragments continued breaking into even smaller pieces due to remaining stress.

SOURCE: Computer World