Chemistry nerds today unveiled new research on the development of a polymer that melts in the sun. Funded by the Pentagon, the material could be used for drones, parachutes and other gear that disintegrates on the battlefield.
The title of the research is: "Phototriggerable polymers for transient devices."
This technology wasn't publicly known when I wrote this piece on self-destructing gadgets for Fast Company.
The new technology does self-destruct, but doesn't vanish. It just looks like something gross on the ground after it melts.
The breakthrough was enabled when researchers incorporated a photosensitive additive that absorbs light, then "catalyzes depolymerization," which is to say that it causes the component parts of the polymer to separate.
Various additives can be used to cause the effect at different wavelengths of light, so they could make an indoor version as well, which melts when you turn on the lights in a room.