Saturday, 15 November 2014

Flying Fungus - Covert Mycelia!

Drones (unmanned remotely controlled aircraft on which equipment such as cameras are mounted) have been used by the military for some time for high level surveillance tasks, but now are increasingly available to civil authorities and members of the public, though their use is subject to strict regulations in the UK.

A student team has recently created a drone that consists of the vegetative part of fungi call the mycelium and protective sheets of bacteria covering it. This provides the structure that contains the controls, propellers and battery (which remain non-biological). 

This aim of this design was to have a device that can degrade into the landscape and not leaving any evidence of its presence. Also, by using proteins from wasp saliva, the team was able to waterproof the drone, maximising bio-degradability. Despite not currently being fully bio-degradable, the team’s overall aim to achieve this in the near future. Real world applications such as flying over sensitive environments or even spying have been suggested.

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