back to article DARPA hands IBM £3.4m to develop SELF DESTRUCTING CHIPS

The American miltary's mad boffin department DARPA has commissioned IBM to design microchips that can simply "vanish" after being used. After the embarrassment of special forces troops leaving behind a “stealth” helicopter during the US operation to kill Osama Bin Laden, America has a strong interest in making sure its tech …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Black Helicopters

The IMF team...

...should be consulted.

4
0
Bronze badge
Mushroom

KaBOOM...

"The American miltary's mad boffin department DARPA has commissioned IBM to design microchips that can simply "vanish" after being used."

I thought this was called 'built-in obsolescence' and was an integral part of every piece of technology that currently exists.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: KaBOOM...

I thought this was called 'built-in obsolescence' and was an integral part of every piece of technology that currently exists.

I think you're confusing this with military funding. That is well ahead of the curve in its ability to vanishing once allocated, especially during active wars.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

I wonder if they come with a warranty

0
0
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

I wonder if they come with a warranty

And a built-in trigger that fires the shattering mechanism off 2 days after it expires?

Oh, and

“The commercial off-the-shelf electronics made for everyday purchases are durable and last nearly forever,”

Is this a new military definition of "forever" that equates to more than the few years that civilian kit seems to achieve before going tits-up? Or is it just that military kit these days is so old that it was made at a time when they hadn't dreamed up built-in obsolescence to keep sales up year on year?

0
0
mtp

RoHS

Military electronics probably uses Lead/Tin solder and who cares about the price overrated capacitors. These two factors are going to be enough to give military kit a vastly longer life than consumer devices. Landfill friendly solder alone is going to clobber fine pitch consumer PCBs within a decade or so. Conformal coating would help but would increase the price so that is two commercially valid reasons why you don't find it used on consumer goods.

Electrolytic capacitors have a well defined degradation, if your kit has capacitors rated for less than 10V over the working voltage then don't expect them to last long.

Ref: (must be doing too much wikipediaing)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisker_%28metallurgy%29

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolytic_capacitor#Reliability_and_length_of_life

0
0
Silver badge

"An external RF signal will be required for this process to be initiated."

A friendly RF signal, of course.

5
0
Silver badge

Self-destruct helicopters?

Would you really want to fly in a helicopter with critical components setup to self-destruct on a RF signal? Sounds quite dodgy to me. You really don't want that going off at the wrong time!!

I thought most of the important, classified stuff on the helicopter wasn't really around the electronics fit, but more the design, stealth materials etc. None of that would be destroyed by this.

1
0
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Self-destruct helicopters?

You realise you missed the perfect opportunity there to use this icon? ----->

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Self-destruct helicopters?

I thought most of the important, classified stuff on the helicopter wasn't really around the electronics fit, but more the design, stealth materials etc. None of that would be destroyed by this

Surely the most effective way to solve that would be to build a few satellites armed with low yield nuclear devices, so they could nuke them from orbit.

3
0
Mushroom

Re: Self-destruct helicopters? - Thermite

If you want to do an effective destruction of an aircraft then fire is the best choice. Include a 10Kg thermite charge on the craft with a manual trigger - if the vehicle has to be abandoned then trigger the charge and all that will be left is a pile of ash.

For self destructing chips, I would suggest using a layer of bullet primer compound under the silicon chip. When triggered it would both pulverise and melt the chip. Using this method the actual chip production would not need any expensive adjustments - the primer compound would be added as part of the packaging.

0
0

Re: Self-destruct helicopters?

"Surely the most effective way to solve that would be to build a few satellites armed with low yield nuclear devices, so they could nuke them from orbit."

The Russians did in the 60's. It was called FOBS, or Fractional Orbital Bombardment System.

0
0

I don't think 3 million will go very far. I imagine making things go pop will be easy, making them go pop ONLY when YOU want them to will be the hard part. I don't want a USB key that turns to dust every time I go through the theft detectors at K-Mart

0
0
Joke

Mobile Phones

Let's hope they reintroduce the ban on using mobile phones on an aircraft before one plummets out of the sky with fried electronics.....

0
0
Bronze badge

Field testing

When the time comes to test these devices, some of the journalists at the Guardian appear to be well qualified for such a task.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

I really need to get around to teaching the kids to use a slide rule.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Wear leveling makes this a requirement

The rest of us have to ignore either the Data Protection Act requiring secure delection of unused personal data, or whatever environmental regulations prevent us putting toxic ash and vapour into the environment when disposing of SSDs and USB flash. 10,000 degrees C eliminates the data well enough, but with some toxicity involved. That's until the manufacturers of these devices provide a relatively easy to use and standardised procedure for securely erasing _everything_ on these devices, including mapped out as considered to be erratic or overused blocks.

0
0

This sounds like an extension of the work they did to release the 4758 Cryptographic Coprocessor about 13 years ago. IIRC, those suckers had tamper, heat, cold, and x-ray sensors, any one of which would trigger a self-destruct mechanism.

1
0
mtp
Black Helicopters

Think of the film plots!

This would ruin the plot of "For Your Eyes Only" - that is reason enough to discourage it.

Oh yes - and giving everyone the ability to sabotage military kit from a distance sounds like a really bad idea! Would you fly in a chopper that falls out of the sky if it receives a strong signal at 1234MHz (or whatever)?

0
0
Thumb Up

IBM is the right company for this project

They have prior experience. Remember when OS/2 would "obliterate your software"?

0
0
Bronze badge
Coat

Sounds like . . .

. . . VAPRware. It'll never work.

Right, I'm going . . .

0
0

Manufacture in China

Just have these manufactured in China. QC is such that thy will self destruct at the most (un) convenient time

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums