There are computers on a chip and labs on a chip and now explosives on a chip. Explosives on a chip? WTF?
This wonderful tech breakthrough is brought to us by Georgia Tech Research Institute and reported, straight-faced, by the Press Release service, Science Daily:
Developed by a team of scientists from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and the Indian Head Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, the highly-uniform copper structures will be incorporated into integrated circuits — then chemically converted to millimeter-diameter explosives. Because they can be integrated into standard microelectronics fabrication processes, the copper materials will enable micro-electromechanical (MEMS) fuzes for military munitions to be mass-produced like computer chips.
“An ability to tailor the porosity and structural integrity of the explosive precursor material is a combination we’ve never had before,” said Jason Nadler, a GTRI research engineer. “We can start with the Navy’s requirements for the material and design structures that are able to meet those requirements. We can have an integrated design tool able to develop a whole range of explosive precursors on different size scales.” (Science Daily)
This is wonderful. Just fucking wonderful. A tiny device that controls when munitions will explode. Just what we need:
The research will lead to a detonator with enhanced capabilities. “The long-term goal of the MEMS Fuze program is to produce a low-cost, highly-reliable detonator with built-in safe and arm capabilities in an extremely small package that would allow the smallest weapons in the Navy to be as safe and reliable as the largest,” Beggans explained.
“Today, everything is becoming smaller, consuming less power and offering more functionality,” Beggans added. “When you hear that a weapon is ‘smart,’ it’s really all about the fuze. The fuze is ‘smart’ in that it knows the exact environment that the weapon needs to be in, and detonates it at the right time. The MEMS fuze would provide ‘smart’ functionality in medium-caliber and sub-munitions, improving results and reducing collateral damage.”
“Practical implementation of this technology will enable the military to reduce the quantity of sensitive primary explosives in each weapon by at least two orders of magnitude,” said Gerald R. Laib, senior explosives applications scientist at Indian Head and inventor of the MEMS Fuze concept.
The next step will be for Indian Head to integrate all the components of the fuze into the smallest possible package — and then begin producing the device in large quantities.
This is obviously very complicated and sophisticated work. Not something a terrorist could ever do. Unless someone, like Georgia Tech Research Institute is kind enough to do it for him. And now they will be able to produce it cheaply by the thousands. And I’m sure none of those thousands of tiny detonators will ever go astray or get into the wrong hands. You’re sure, too. Aren’t you?
We are all so much safer. Explosives on a chip.