Spy Cameras Which Disappear On Command Made Possible by Scientific Discovery

Saturday, 27 October 2012  |  Admin

The majority of people view silk as a luxurious fabric used to create the most expensive of garments, but new developments in technology have revealed that a silky coating around certain electronics could lead to the creation of a new generation of spy cameras. A huge collaboration between biophysicists, material scientists and electronic engineers in the US has led to the discovery that a certain type of silk can help to control the lifespan of devices and help them to degrade at a certain rate. The breakthrough could be significant in the creation of self-destructing spy cameras, environmentally friendly electronic devices, and implants which break down in the body and leave no residue behind.

John Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign led the research, which was funded by a US military research agency. A tiny dissolvable camera was created which was implanted in the skin of a rat, before a radio heating device was activated and the camera simply melted away. Just like conventional electronics, the new devices rely on silicon, which dissolves at a rate of about one nanometer per day when it is within the body. However, a standard piece of silicon used in an ordinary device might take up to one thousand years to dissolve, whereas a silicon chip just 20 nanometres thick would be able to disappear completely from the body in a matter of weeks. The silk component used was also discovered to be completely biocompatible with the body, with the team observing no inflammation or irritation where the device was inserted and disintegrated.

Medical fields will undoubtedly see a great benefit as a result of this new discovery, with surgeons able to embed the silicon and silk devices into patients only to have them disappear at will, but the world of spy gadgets will also be revolutionised. Sensors which disappear on command, GPS bugging devices or tiny cameras would be strategically placed in hostile environments to feed information back to base camps, before the devices are dissolved with nobody any the wiser. So far, the team have managed to turn their hand to creating transistors, resistors, diodes, and strain sensors all with this new method, which could pave the way for endless technological breakthroughs in spy equipment in the future.

As the funding for the project came from a US military research agency, it goes without saying that the intended uses for the new devices are highly classified, but it doesn’t take a superspy or super villain’s intellect to imagine the ways in which these inventions might be utilised in the future.


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