Like the rest of the world, the battlefield is positively crawling with electronics. To make matters worse, they tend to be loaded with highly specialized and classified components, so you don’t want to lose them in the field. Unfortunately, recovering sophisticated electronics while under fire has proven difficult.
DARPA’s solution has been to call for the development of “electronics [that] simply disappeared when no longer needed.”
The aptly named VAPR (Vanishing Programmable Resources) program aims to revolutionize “the state of the art in transient electronics or electronics capable of dissolving into the environment around them.” The goal is for VAPR electronics to be as rugged and durable as the real thing, but to self-destruct at a signal from headquarters.
Naturally, DARPA hasn’t revealed any specifics, but DARPA program manager Alicia Jackson said they “imagine a multidisciplinary approach. Teams will likely need industry experts who understand circuits, integration, and, design. Performers from the material science community will be sought to develop novel substrates. There's lots of room for innovation by clever people with diverse expertise.”
This message will self-destruct in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…
Image Courtesy of DARPA