Today’s Solutions: September 28, 2023

Farmers in Malaysia often burn or throw away pineapple leaves after the fruit has been harvested for the season. Researchers from Putra University have found an ingenious new use for these leaves by repurposing them into a lightweight, sustainable drone. 

Led by Professor Mohamed Thariq Hameed Sultan, the researchers designed pineapple leaf-based drones which can be flown up to 1,000 meters above the ground for up to 20 minutes. According to the researchers, the drones have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than traditional drones made with synthetic materials. They’re also cheaper to produce and lighter, requiring less power to put them into flight. 

In addition to being durable and high quality, the drone parts are also far more sustainable. If part of the drone breaks or malfunctions, it can be easily replaced and the broken part can simply be buried in the ground where it will decompose completely within two weeks. 

The team has been working on these pineapple drones since 2017. Now that their design has successfully taken flight, they are turning their attention towards making larger versions that can carry heavier loads. They hope the drones will eventually be used for agricultural imaging, allowing farmers to improve their yields. Once the project is scaled up, selling old pineapple leaves for transformation into drones could be a viable additional source of income for many local farmers. Additionally, preventing the leaves from being burned protects the environment and reduces air pollution.

Image source: Engadget


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