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Xerox Parc shows off computer chip that can self-destruct in 10 seconds

September 14th, 2015 at 9:45 PM
Self Destructing Computer Chip

Engineers at PARC, formerly known as Xerox Parc, recently unveiled a new type of computer chip capable of self destructing on command. Initially demoed at DARPA’S Wait What event last week, the computer chip itself is made out of Gorilla Glass but is heavily stressed so that it shatters into pieces when triggered via heat, a mechanical switch or even a radio signal.

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“We take the glass and we ion-exchange temper it to build in stress,” PARC scientist Gregory Whiting explained to PC World.  “What you get is glass that, because it’s heavily stressed, breaks it fragments into tiny little pieces.”

Detailing a successful demonstration of the self-destructing chip in action, the report adds:

The glass was stressed to breaking point by heat. When a circuit was switched on, a small resistor heated up and the glass shattered into thousands of pieces. Even after it broke up, stress remained in the fragments and they continued breaking into even smaller pieces for tens of seconds afterwards.

Seemingly out of a movie like Mission Impossible, PARC’S computer chip design could one day soon prove extremely useful in military situations when extremely sensitive data needs to be protected at all costs.

Notably, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen DARPA express a legit interest in self-destructing technologies. In February of 2014, for example, DARPA awarded IBM a $3.45 million contract to develop a self-destructing chip of its own.

In any event, video of Parc’s new computer chip self-destructing can be viewed below.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.

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