A piece of fungal mycelium skinned in bacterial celluloseNext, the team hopes to figure out how to build degradable drone sensors – and is researching how these could be created using E. Concept sketchAnother scenario thought up by writer Geoff Manaugh and designer John Becker imagined a future where genetically modified bees could be trained to “print” concrete structures instead of producing honey. A sample of myceliumThe drone’s circuitry is printed in a silver nanoparticle ink – a decision that was made to keep the vehicle as biodegradable as possible. A team of researchers has completed a working prototype for a drone made from a fungal material that will biodegrade if it crashes outdoors. “No one would know if you’d spilled some sugar water or if there’d been an airplane there,” Lynn Rothschild of NASA’s Ames Research Center, who advised the design team, told scientific journal New Scientist. These were then coated with proteins cloned from the saliva of paper wasps to create the rigid chassis of the vehicle. The battery, rotors and controls were all made from more traditional materials and were sourced from a normal mechanical quadcopter. The drone successfully made its inaugural flight at the iGEM competition held in Boston at the end of October, and 3D printable models of the chassis are available for download on the team’s website. The vehicle’s body, provided by Ecovative DesignNew York-based biomaterial company Ecovative Design provided a team taking part in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition with a mushroom-like lightweight organic material called mycelium, which was also used to form bricks for the most recent MoMA PS1 gallery pavilion in New York by design studio The Living.