Photo of the Week: Yes, This Drone Is Made of Fungus

Plastic drones can end up littering the landscape, so a team of students and scientists figured out a way to make a biodegradable drone made of fungus.
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Plastic drones can end up littering the landscape, so a team of students and scientists figured out a way to make a biodegradable drone made of fungus.

After we saw the story about the fungus drone on ILFScience and other sites, we knew we knew it was the top candidate for our Photo of the Week. OK, so it isn’t as sleek as the ambulance drone that we featured last week, but it turns out it’s made of fungus for a reason.

While drones offer a number of benefits, they also can litter the landscape with plastic after they’ve fallen from the sky. So a team of scientists and students created a drone with biodegradable parts. It's made up of mycelium, which is the vegetative body of a fungus, and it will turn into a puddle of goo after it has plunged back on the ground.

“We reached out to Ecovative Design, a pioneering fungal-mycelium-based biomaterial company, to prototype a mycelium form that could serve as the chassis of our vehicle,” the team explained on their website

Right now, only the body of the drone itself is biodegradable, Forbes.com reported. But it’s a start, and according to the Forbes.com story, the team is making a push to make the entire drone biodegradable.

Until then, the team has kindly left instructions on how to 3-D print the fungus drone at their site.

Top photo credit: CNASA/Ames