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Mar 03, 2017 08:01 AM EST

Advanced Materials Technology: Self -Destruct Gadgets When Stolen Will Soon Be Available


Almost everyone is familiar with Mission Impossible movies where gadgets self-destruct after a few minutes. Such types of devices will soon become a reality as researchers created a device that will make your gadgets self-destruct when stolen.

A team of researchers from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology created a prototype of a self-destruct mechanism which can be installed in most modern devices. When a device with this mechanism is stolen, it can completely destroy it within ten seconds preventing the thief to resell it or get any important data from it.

The mechanism is made of an expandable polymer which can be remotely triggered. Once triggered, it will use the device's battery to draw power for its heater electrodes. If the temperature reaches 80 degrees Celsius, the mechanism will expand seven times its original size and will explode.

A 500 to 600 milliwatts of power supplying the mechanism would make it burst in a matter of 10 to 15 seconds. But even if the power is just around 300 milliwatts, the device can still explode within a minute and destroy a silicon chip that is around 90 micrometers thick.

According to the researchers, different triggers can be used to activate the mechanism. One possibility is a GPS switch that can be turned on when the device is taken 50 meters away from its original position.

In another experiment, they used a light sensor illuminated by a desk lamp. This mimics a scenario where a top secret device is taken out of its protective casing and self-destructs when exposed to light.

The third experiment looked even more like a scene from a James Bond movie where the chip explodes when removed from its case. They are also testing an app that can trigger the mechanism remotely by using a password.

The KAUST team said they are still planning to perform more experiments to polish the mechanism and make it more viable.

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