Technology has become a major asset on the battlefield and is used extensively across all areas and agencies within the Department of Defense. But that technology also forms a major problem if it gets into the wrong hands.Electronic devices are built to last, which make them very reliable. However, if during a hostile situation such a device has to be left behind or gets dropped, it will continue to function and could end up giving the enemy an advantage. With that in mind, DARPA has set about creating electronics that work for as long as necessary, but can be destroyed at a moment’s notice.The project is called Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR). Its main aim is to develop so-called transient electronics that are capable of dissolving completely, or at the very least to the point where they no longer function. Destroying a VAPR device should be as easy as sending a signal to it or placing the device within certain conditions e.g. extreme heat or cold, that triggers the rapid destruction process.For the moment, VAPR remains strictly a research project. DARPA is set to hold a Proposer’s Day on February 14 to introduce the ideas associated with VAPR in a bid to get industry, academia, and other government agencies interested. After that, research needs to happen in key areas including materials development, manufacturing processes, and device design.Dissolving electronics isn’t a new idea, and it’s one DARPA has visited before when researching their use in medical procedures. In that case electronics created on ultrathin sheets of silicon could be dissolved using a biofluid. It seems likely the same ideas could be used as a starting point for VAPR devices.