Forget remote erase: future gadgets could melt away on command

Credit: Iowa State

In a little lab on the campus of Iowa State University, there sits a man who possesses the remarkable ability to melt electronics at will. It sounds like some sort of super power, but Dr. Reza Montazami's abilities aren't the result of his accidentally being drenched in gamma rays or bitten by a radioactive spider. What gives Dr. Montazami his tech-melting powers is his invention of something called "transient electronics".

So far Dr. Montazami has created a transient LED and transistor that melt away when they get wet. According to Iowa State University:

"To demonstrate that potential, Montazami played a video showing a blue light-emitting diode mounted on a clear polymer composite base with the electrical leads embedded inside. Add a drop of water and the base and wiring begin to melt away. Before long the light goes out and a second drop of water degrades what little is left."

"You don't expect your cell phone to dissolve someday, right?" says Montazami. "The resistors, capacitors and electronics, you don’t expect everything to dissolve in such a manner that there's no trace of it."

Once transient electronics hit the mainstream, you'll have to wrap your mind around the idea that everything from your credit card to your laptop will be able to melt away to nothingness at the snap of your fingers. Generally speaking, you might think of that as a bad thing. When properly controlled, however, transient technology could not only curb theft, but revolutionize the way we treat electronic implants as well. When an implanted medical device is no longer needed, it could simply melt away, leaving no need for surgery.

The military has also recently taken interest in the tech, with the goal of melting any tech that falls into enemy hands. All that melty hardware is still a little way off, however. We'd appreciate credit cards that melt away and all, but only when we say so.

Via Iowa State University

For the latest tech stories, follow DVICE on Twitter
at @dvice or find us on Facebook