Mission possible: Self-destructing phones are now a reality
February 12, 2017
Seid Yassin (364 articles)

Mission possible: Self-destructing phones are now a reality

Self-destructing gadgets favoured by the likes of James Bond and Mission: Impossible’s Ethan Hunt have taken one step closer to reality. Researchers in Saudi Arabia have developed a mechanism that, when triggered, can destroy a smartphone or other electronic device in as little as 10 seconds.

The self-destruct mechanism has been created by electrical engineers at the King Abdulla University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and consists of a polymer layer that rapidly expands when subjected to temperatures above 80 degrees Celsius, effectively bursting the phone open from the inside. The mechanism can be adapted to be triggered in various ways, including remotely through a smartphone app or when it’s subjected to pressure.

Once triggered, power from the device’s battery is directed to electrodes that rapidly heat, causing the polymer layer to expand to around seven times its original size within 10-15 seconds. This crushes the vital components inside the device, destroying any information stored on board.

“The expandable polymer expands much more and causes sufficient tension in the thin silicon — which is sitting on top of the polymer — so it simply crumples and then breaks,” KAUST engineer Muhammad Hussain told IEEE Spectrum.


Source | ibtimes