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No longer a wild story line from the TV series “Mission Impossible”, the US military is funding a project to develop electronics that can self-destruct by remote control. US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has commissioned IBM to work on a £2.1m contract for its Vanishing Programmable Resources project (VAPR). The proposal would create a networked application which would employ a radio frequency trigger to shatter a glass coating on a silicon chip, and turn it into powder, thus destroying it and preventing sensitive data falling into enemy hands. VAPR has also got applications in medical diagnosis and treatment which they hope to develop further. With VAPR targeted first for combat zones, wider ramifications for securing data in a similar vein for commercial use would certainly be interesting in a board room setting.

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