Content type: Article

Source: Text Excerpt from Welcome to The Ear of Self-Destructing Gadgets, From Phones to Drones originally published by Fast Company
Credits: Mike Elgan (journalist, blogger, columnist and podcaster)
Year: 2018

Introduction:
Mike Elgan is a journalist, blogger, columnist and podcaster with a particular interest in technology. The following text is an excerpt from his article ( published by FastCompany) describing the recent frenzy for inventing self-destructing gadgets. It outlines why companies and institutions, in particular the US government, are heavily investing in devices that 'explode, melt, liquify, evaporate, or otherwise, self-destruct on command'. The article goes on to categorize the methods that are being developed to achieve this, ranging from “blowing them up real good” (using examples such as exploding computer chips and glass that shatters in heat), to 'vaporizing drones' (which simply disappear into thin air).

Elgan’s article gives an insight into the motivations and forces shaping current technological development and how it eventually trickles down to the average citizen through consumable goods.

'The Pentagon is working on devices for soldiers and spies that can explode, melt, liquify, evaporate, or otherwise self-destruct on command, on a schedule, or under specific environmental conditions. Tech companies and research universities are working on such technologies, too'.

The old Mission Impossible TV series was 1960s cool. But star Peter Graves never told us how those recorded messages were able to 'self-destruct in five seconds'. Neither did Tom Cruise.

Mission Impossible gadgets self-destruct for one reason: To erase data. Great idea, Hollywood!

But the U.S. military has an even better idea: What about gadgets that self-destruct so completely you can’t even tell they were ever there? And what if those gadgets weren’t Peter Graves’s reel-to-reel tape recorders or Tom Cruise’s exploding sunglasses, but all manner of wearables, smartphones, laptops, and even drones?

The Pentagon is working on devices for soldiers and spies that can explode, melt, liquify, evaporate, or otherwise self-destruct on command, on a schedule, or under specific environmental conditions. Tech companies and research universities are working on such technologies, too.

One might assume the purpose for this circuit seppuku is Mission Impossible-style data security. But there are other reasons, many of them unexpected.

Even the Pentagon’s desire for vanishing electronics has less to do with data security and more to do with something called the 'leave behind' problem. Wherever military units leave gear behind on the battlefield, the high-tech stuff can be captured, learned from, and repurposed by the enemy.

Other great reasons for disappearing electronics include environmentalism, public safety, stealth, personal privacy, crime prevention, and even medicine. And the variety of methods for achieving self-destruction is nothing short of astonishing.

Read the full article here