By: TechSwarm –
If there is any doubt that our reality is quickly becoming stranger than fiction, the latest announcement from researchers at Stanford should lay it to rest.
Working in collaboration with green tech company, Ecovative Design, scientists have produced a biodegradable drone that they say will virtually disappear without a trace.
The biomaterial that constitutes the body of the drone is made from the fungal material, mycelium, while the core circuitry employs nanoparticle ink.
The fungal body has a protective covering of sticky cellulose “leather” sheets grown by bacteria in the lab. Coating the sheets are proteins cloned from the saliva of paper wasps – usually used to waterproof their nests. Circuits were printed in silver nanoparticle ink, in an effort to make the device as biodegradable as possible.
Perhaps even more wild than flying fungus is the mention of using bacteria to create biodegradable censors – one of the components that currently is not able to be broken down:
The next part the team hope to make safe to degrade are the drone’s sensors, and they have already started studying how to build them using E. coli bacteria.
Naturally, the idea of a drone that can vanish into the earth without a trace would have myriad military and surveillance applications. While not mentioned in the New Scientist coverage of this drone, the use of biomaterial such as bacteria (or viruses?) might introduce a new Pandora’s Box to an already controversial technology.