IBM signs contract with DARPA to develop self-destructing chips

By Shawn Knight
Feb 7, 2014
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  1. "This message will self-destruct in five, four, three..." You've no doubt seen a scenario like this in spy movies or even cartoon shows but thanks to a recent contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), it could soon...

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  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,571   +480

    And what does this "news" mean to an average consumer? These products will never appear on an open market, and will never effect any of us in any way, so who cares, really?
  3. I know this is being developed primarily for military use, but I can't help but immediately think of commercial application. This brings a whole new meaning to planned obsolescence.

    "I need to get a new phone."
    "Why, is your contract about to expire?"
    "No, my phone itself is about to expire and will disintegrate at the end of this billing cycle."
  4. Sarcasm

    Sarcasm TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 340   +20

    Who knows, wife could find the 2TB of porn and start questioning. Husband says "What porn? You have no evidence."
    EEatGDL likes this.
  5. JC713

    JC713 TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 6,697   +873

    Wow self-destructing chips. Now that is crazy.
  6. "And what does this "news" mean to an average consumer? These products will never appear on an open market, and will never effect any of us in any way, so who cares, really?"

    Well if you're a business or corporation who actually gives a damn about where your physical data ends up this technology could be implemented into hard drives. Any type of storage device in a phone, tablet, pc, ect. Instead of spending days or even weeks to SECURELY erase data off of hard drives after the drive is ready to be disposed, just turn it into powder. saves time and therefore money especially on older drives that WERE still in use. No worries whatsoever that your 15 pass storage erasing program didn't miss something, is faster, and is more of a guarantee than you can get otherwise.

    If there's ever some type of security breach.

    The govt isn't the only entity that wants protection for data.


    This can also be used for newer more advanced chips ensuring they aren't reverse engineered or something.
  7. But that also assumes this can eventually be done for a reasonable price in the first place.
  8. Razer

    Razer TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 131   +11

    I would like to see next generation of smartphone with this kind of chips as a feature :D Lol
  9. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Staff Posts: 1,276   +394 Staff Member

    Didn't AMD already develop this back in 2000 with their Athlon "Thunderbird" architecture? Those things always self-destructed.
    kuroiei likes this.
  10. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,765   +1,423

  11. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,765   +1,423

    Self-Destructing!

    Now that is the ultimate plan of obsolescence. Cellphone carriers will love this!
     
  12. veLa

    veLa TechSpot Booster Posts: 487   +75

    Really? My now ancient Athlon T-Bird still runs perfectly despite its age. I think you must have that chip confused for Intel's old Prescott design.
    SNGX1275 likes this.
  13. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Staff Posts: 1,276   +394 Staff Member

    Clearly you have never tried turning one on with the heatsink seated incorrectly. Unlike the Intel processors of the time or todays modern AMD and Intel processors the Athlon Thunderbird architecture didn’t have a thermal cut out and would go up in a puff of smoke about 5 seconds after turning the system on if the heatsink wasn’t installed or seated correctly.

    By mistake over the few years that I tested with them I would have killed 3 or 4, completely my fault of course but they didn’t allow any room for error.

    Here are some examples ;)


    This is what I am talking about, video by Toms Hardware back in the day.


    Love the Quake testing brings back so many memories.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
    dividebyzero likes this.
  14. SirGCal

    SirGCal TechSpot Member Posts: 80   +21

    That is the key, it was completely your mistake. I've gone through trays of those old chips back in the day and never melted one, although I am meticulous with their handling and installation. Still, AMD didn't design them to self destruct, improper handling and installation caused it. Otherwise they were a pretty stout piece back in the day.
  15. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Staff Posts: 1,276   +394 Staff Member

    Yeah well when you put together articles like a 50 heatsink roundup where each heatsink gets re-seated 3 times forgive me for making a small mistake. Furthermore some of those heatsinks back then were extremely difficult to seat correctly which did make them a bad product but a product we needed to test nonetheless.

    Anywayyy... of course they were not meant to burn up, for the love of god I was making a joke. Instead I just pissed off some AMD fanboys, sorry about that.
    amstech and cliffordcooley like this.
  16. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,415   +281



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