Is such a thing possible? What are the various ways of accomplishing a quick and permanent delete and what are the pros and cons of each way?
Be as specific as possible, I would like to try to build just such a device (I'm an Engineer, albeit Naval Architecture and Marine), Also if any are available commercially, I'd like to look into them.
My thoughts are
1.) Create a strong electro-magnetic field very close to the hard disk
2.) Use several small explosive charges again very close to the disk
But I'm sure there are other ways. As an example you could run a software routine that accomplishes a complete wipe (say 25 passes writing the Hard disk with random numbers.) But for that you'd somehow have to make the computer hard disk and battery VERY difficult to remove. Also there would still be the risk of someone smashing the laptop with a hammer to make the delete process but they would have to be pretty crafty!