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Degradable devices vanish after use

Technique combines silicon, magnesium and silk for medical implants, transistors and digital cameras that can melt away

Imagine your old phone dissolving away after you’ve traded up, or a pacemaker that’s absorbed by the body when it’s no longer needed. Such gadgetry may not be far off: Scientists have developed a technique for making electronic devices that disappear without a trace. Constructed of silicon, magnesium and silk, the transient electronics can be tuned to last for days, weeks or even a year — and then disappear.

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