VAPR. It sounds like a nefarious spy agency bent on world domination, doesn't it?
Instead, VAPR stands for Vanishing Programmable Resources, and it's a new program created by DARPA -- the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency -- to develop tech that self-destructs either on demand or at a pre-scheduled time. That's not to say it isn't involved in the world of espionage. That's exactly its point. According to DARPA:
Sophisticated electronics can be made at low cost and are increasingly pervasive throughout the battlefield. Large numbers can be widely proliferated and used for applications such as distributed remote sensing and communications. However, it is nearly impossible to track and recover every device resulting in unintended accumulation in the environment and potential unauthorized use and compromise of intellectual property and technological advantage.
That's all another way of saying: "We want to send spy toys over enemy lines that we might not be able to get back, so we want to blow them up before the enemy gets them." … Read more