Like eating a pineapple? What about flying it?
Researchers in Malaysia have developed a method to transform the fibre found in normally discarded pineapple leaves to make a strong material that can be used to build the frames for unmanned aircraft, e.g. drones.
The drones made out of the bio-composite material had a higher strength-to-weight ratio than those made from synthetic fibres and were also cheaper, lighter and easier to dispose of. If
the drone was damaged, the frame could be buried in the ground and would degrade within two weeks.
These prototype drones have been able to fly to a height of about 1,000m (3,280ft) and stay in the air for about 20 minutes. The research team hopes to create a larger drone to accommodate bigger payloads, including imaging sensors for agricultural purposes and aerial inspections.
Before the project launched in 2017, pineapple stems were discarded after the once-in-a-year harvest period. Farmers in the district hope the drones project will encourage more innovation to find uses for the waste and boost incomes.
Pineapples are native to South America before Christopher Columbus discovered them in 1493.