Edible drones could improve delivery of life-saving supplies

March 13, 2023 |

In Switzerland, an engineering project at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne is envisioning edible drones as a means to increase the payload of life-saving emergency provisions.

According to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, drone cargo is currently limited to 10–30% of overall mass—meaning drone drops of food to the stranded can be pretty inefficient. Efficiency is particularly important when multiple deliveries are needed, as can be the case with natural disasters.

The Swiss team suggests that delivering the goods in something edible, instead of conventional packaging materials, could help deliver additional calories or make room for other survival supplies.  “We used rice cookies, which can be found from any grocery store, and we glued each cookie with edible gelatine material,” researcher Bokeon Kwak tells IME.  “The density of the rice cookie is almost comparable to a widely used engineering material,” that is “typically super-lightweight” but sturdy enough for flight, he adds.

The prototype provides an additional 300 calories, although use of gelatine is not vegetarian. Kwak hopes to develop a completely edible prototype within four years.

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Category: Chemicals & Materials

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