Malaysian researchers have developed a method to transform the fiber found in normally discarded pineapple leaves to make a strong material that can be used to build the frames for uncrewed aircraft, or drones.
The project, headed by Mohamed Thariq Hameed Sultan, a professor at the University Putra Malaysia, has been trying to find sustainable uses for pineapple waste generated by farmers in Hulu Langat, an area about 65km from Kuala Lumpur.
“We are transforming the leaf of the pineapple into a fiber that can be used for aerospace application, basically inventing a drone,” he said at a workshop.
He said that drones made out of the bio-composite material had a higher strength-to-weight ratio than those made from synthetic fibers, and were also cheaper, lighter and easier to dispose.
If the drone was damaged, the frame could be buried in the ground and would degrade within two weeks, he said.
The prototype drones have been able to fly to a height of about 1,000m and stay in the air for about 20 minutes, he added.
Ultimately, the research team hopes to create a larger drone to accommodate bigger payloads, including image sensors, for agricultural purposes and aerial inspections.
“Our role here is to help the industry, the farmers, to increase their yield and make their jobs much easier,” said William Robert Alvisse of the Malaysian Unmanned Drones Activist Society, a non-governmental group helping to design the drone and advising on the project.
Before the project launched in 2017, pineapple stems were discarded after the once-in-a-year harvest period, but farmers hope the drones project will encourage more innovation to find uses for the waste and boost incomes.
“With the health issue, the economy problem due to COVID-19, the society is desperate and there is no alternative to increase income,” pineapple farmer Irwan Ismail said.
On the Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo, enthusiastic slackers share their tips: Fill up a thermos with whiskey, do planks or stretches in the work pantry at regular intervals, drink liters of water to prompt lots of trips to the toilet on work time, and, once there, spend time on social media or playing games on your phone. “Not working hard is everyone’s basic right,” one commenter wrote. “With or without legal protection, everyone has the right to not work hard.” Young Chinese people are pushing back against an engrained culture of overwork, and embracing a philosophy of laziness known as “touching
‘STUNNED’: With help from an official at the US Department of Justice, Donald Trump reportedly planned to oust the acting attorney general in a bid to overturn the election Former US president Donald Trump was at his Florida resort on Saturday, beginning post-presidency life while US President Joe Biden settled into the White House, but in Washington and beyond, the chaos of the 45th president’s final days in office continued to throw out damaging aftershocks. In yet another earth-shaking report, the New York Times said that Trump plotted with an official at the US Department of Justice to fire the acting attorney general, then force Georgia Republicans to overturn his defeat in that state. Meanwhile, former acting US secretary of defense Christopher Miller made an extraordinary admission, telling Vanity Fair that
Boeing set a target of designing and certifying its jetliners to fly on 100 percent sustainable fuels by 2030, amid rising pressure on planemakers to take climate change seriously. Regulators allow a 50-50 blend of sustainable and conventional fuels, and Boeing on Friday said it would work with authorities to raise the limit. Rival Airbus is considering another tack: a futuristic lineup of hydrogen-powered aircraft that would reach the skies by 2035. The aircraft manufacturers face growing public clamor to cut emissions in the aviation industry, which added more than 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in 2019, according to
Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh on Thursday resigned following a protest over a hospital’s treatment of a new mother who tested positive for COVID-19. Khurelsukh, whose Mongolian People’s Party holds a strong majority in the parliament known as the State Great Khural, stepped down after accusing Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga of the Democratic Party of orchestrating a political crisis. A small protest broke out in the capital, Ulan Bator, on Wednesday after TV footage appeared of a woman who had just given birth being escorted in slippers and a thin robe from the maternity ward to a special wing for COVID-19 patients