Gadgets with a self-destruct feature might sound something impossible thing, but with this new self-destruct mechanism you can destroy electronics within 10 seconds through wireless commands or by triggering of certain sensors.
Researchers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, have come up with a new self-destruct mechanism that turns your phone into a melting mush of chips and plastic within 10 seconds of a trigger.
The technology uses expandable polymers to create an expandable layer that grows up to seven times its original size when they are heated beyond 80 degrees.
The heat could be taken from the battery of the phone or laptop and only requires 500 to 600 mW to enable the polymer’s expansion and the consequential destruction of the chip, within 12 to 15 seconds.
The researchers have designed the technology in a bid to safeguard laptops and phones of sensitive government agencies and corporations who need them destroyed in case they are lost or stolen.
“The first customers would be the ones who need data protection: Intelligence communities, corporations, banks, hedge funds, social security administrations, collectors who handle massive data,” says Muhammad Mustafa Hussain, an electrical engineer at KAUST.
The KAUST researchers demonstrated four different methods of triggering the self-destruct mechanism. The first method used a GPS sensor to trigger the polymer when the device moved more than 50 meters away from a set point.
The second one used a light sensor to trigger the self-destruct mechanism when the device got exposed to a desk lamp, probably useful in cases when a top-secret device is removed out of a box and exposed to light.
The third experiment used a pressure sensor to self-destruct when the device casing is forced open while the last scenario initiated the self-destruct sequence remotely by putting a password into an app.
“This could allow for the technology to be retrofitted to existing laptop or desktop computers,” says Hussain. He adds that the overall cost of adding the self-destruct security mechanism would likely be about $15 or less, depending on volume.