Material: Partially delignified wood, wheat flour, ethyl cellulose, natural hair, perlite and electronics
The team designed a wood-based biodegradable seed carrier that mimics seeds of Erodium, a genus of plants with seeds that unwind coiled tails to act as a drill to plant into the ground. The seed carrier has three coiled tails attached that unwind when moistened and can carry seeds as large as those of whitebark pine trees, which are about 11 mm long and weigh about 72 mg.
Increasing the number of unwinding tails ensures the drill bit is better angled to the surface for burrowing.
The seed carriers had an 80% success rate of getting seeds into the ground on flat land, reducing the risk of them blowing away or being eaten by animals. Under the same terrain conditions, the natural Erodium seed’s success rate was 0%. The carriers could also be used to deploy fertilizers or other materials (such as sensors) that could be beneficial for agricultural and conservation applications, the authors conclude.
Exhibition at London Design Biennale
Morphing Matter Lab (Carnegie Mellon University)
Danli Luo, Aditi Maheshwari, Andreea Danielescu, Jiaqi Li, Yue Yang, Ye Tao, Lingyun Sun, Dinesh K. Patel, Guanyun Wang, Shu Yang, Teng Zhang, Lining Yao
Morphing Matter Lab, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University (Leading)
University of Pennsylvania
A new biodegradable seed carrier design inspired by the self-drilling behaviour of Erodium seeds. The seed carrier has a higher implantation success rate than that of Erodium seeds. This technology may improve the effectiveness of aerial seeding to address agricultural and environmental stresses in degraded regions.