When a laptop or a phone blows up it's usually because of some dangerous exploding battery. But what if you want to make a laptop self destruct and blow up on its own? You'll have to make something that Q from James Bond would invent, basically. The genius Caleb Kraft did just that.
Caleb from Hack a Day used thermite to make the laptop catch on fire to destroy the hard drive. Burnt up hard drive means all your files are secure, right? Right! Caleb's system has its own self destruct mechanism to catch on fire. But because thermite is really hard to light, he had to get creative. He says:
What I finally landed on was an ignition system that uses model rocket igniters, gun powder, and magnesium to light the thermite. The model rocket igniter can be set off from the 12V line inside your computer. However, it isn't hot enough to light magnesium shavings, much less thermite. To get it to work, I needed to add some gunpowder. A small amount of gun powder would get hot enough to light the magnesium shavings, which in turn were hot enough to light the thermite. I had to be careful though, because too much gunpowder would cause a rapid expansion, blowing the thermite everywhere instead of lighting it. You can actually see some red thermite being blown out of the external hard drive and the laptop as the gunpowder ignites.
Caleb also made the awesome fire breathing Piranha Plant from Super Mario Bros so we should trust him on all things fire or explosions or explosive fire. [Hack a Day via BoingBoing]