Biodegradable fungus headphones designed to cut electronic waste
Fungus headphones don't sound like they should be a good idea, but Finnish researchers have bio-engineered a prototype that they believe is worth listening to.
The Korvaa headphones were created in a joint effort by 3 sets of scientists who hope their creation may one day even replace traditional plastics in everyday consumer electronics.
Senior Scientist, Geza Szilvay explains how they've refined the process.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) VTT SENIOR SCIENTIST, GEZA SZILVAY, SAYING:
"So we have hard plastics, like bioplastic here, then we have soft cushioning made from fungal foaming protein and cellulose. And then we have a fungal leather-like material covering the cushion parts."
According to the Pezhman Mohammadi from the Technical Research Center of Finland, the aim of the project is to raise awareness about the possibilities of using microbes in sustainable production process.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) VTT RESEARCH SCIENTIST, PEZHMAN MOHAMMADI, SAYING:
"We wanted to combine these different materials into the headset because we thought it was a great opportunity to combine different materials and no one had done it before actually to bring all the different microbes into the development of an electronic device."
The soft padding of the headphone cushions is made by combining the foaming protein produced by a fungus with cellulose.
3D-printing then makes the more rigid parts along with biodegradable PLA plastic made from lactic acid produced by yeast.
These headphones aren't commerically available just yet, but the team hope to we'll hear more about them soon.