Pentagon Wants to Develop Electronics That Can Vaporize

By Bob Brewin

January 28, 2014

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded BAE Systems Advanced Technologies a $4.5 million contract last week to develop battlefield electronic systems “capable of physically disappearing in a controlled, triggerable manner.”

The DARPA Vanishing Programmable Resources program — VAPR — aims to eliminate electronics, such as sensors, that end up scattered around a battlefield and become easy pickings for an enemy.

DARPA plans to use VAPR to develop such here today, gone tomorrow “transient electronics” with a focus on sensors with RF links. Such a system might be used to sense environmental or biomedical conditions and communicate with a remote user.

This sure sounds like the ultimate in planned obsolescence. Just think what it could do to drive smartphone sales.

By Bob Brewin // Bob Brewin joined Government Executive in April 2007, bringing with him more than 20 years of experience as a journalist focusing on defense issues and technology. Bob covers the world of defense and information technology for Nextgov, and is the author of the “What’s Brewin” blog.

January 28, 2014