If Your Drone Flies, Eat It!

Over the years we’ve featured countless drone projects here at Hackaday, fixed wing, rotary wing, multi-rotor, and more. Among them all we think there may be a type that we’ve never seen, but that is about to change as it’s the first time we’ve brought you an edible drone.

Why might you need an edible drone, you ask? It’s not to conceal the evidence after closing an airport — instead it’s a research project from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology to produce an efficient means of bringing sustenance to stranded climbers. The St. Bernard dogs are out of a job, it’s now done the modern way!

Jokes aside, this is clearly an experimental craft, a fixed-wing monoplane whose wings are made from rice cakes and gelatin. A stranded climber could certainly munch away at those airofoils, but we’re guessing a real device would need something a little more nutritious while retaining the light cellular structure.

This may be our first edible drone, but it’s not the first piece of edible technology we’ve brought you.

29 thoughts on “If Your Drone Flies, Eat It!

  1. So the wings will disintegrate with the slightest hint of precipitation and using a standard drone with sustenance in a weatherproof wrapping would of course be way to simple.
    Is it April fools yet?

  2. I don’t see it is a drone, just an RC-aeroplane. And it is not completely edible, only the wing is. Rice-cakes do not have that much of consumable energy so quite thin help for lost people..

    Maybe title “RC-plane wing made of rice-cake”.

    1. The article author is absolutely correct in their judgement to call it a drone. Unmanned aerial vehicle qualify as it, and it is merely a less eloquent way to call a UAV. Rocket propulsion, single-propellor or multi-copter, all can be called drone. Google the Ryan BQM-34 Firebee target drone.

  3. Wouldn’t a rice patty gatling gun be a better use of food delivery? Find the climber and just start pelting them with the patties?

    1 in 10 contain peanut butter…..Ooops, they have an allergy.
    Ready the EpiPen Gun!

  4. I suppose it’s more biodegradable this way.

    If you’re using simple drones for aerial surveillance in forests etc., some will inevitably crash and that could become a litter problem over the years.

    1. Could they not solve that problem with something other than food? I know that wood is often used in RC planes and I would imagine that other natural materials would work too l. It should work with untreated wood too, it just wouldn’t last as long, which is kind of the point. Maybe bamboo would be an option too, especially for tubes or bodies of aircraft. Maybe even a thick paper over an untreated wooden frame would work.

      Obviously that is just the structural components of the plane that would be biodegradable, you still have the much more problematic components like the batteries and electronics. Maybe in the future graphene or carbon could replace copper on circuit boards or wires to make it more biodegradable.

      1. If you used only iron based magnets, zinc-carbon batteries, and coat your wires in celluloid, make your circuit boards out of paper and resin, and use “black blob” electronics where the chip is laid directly on the PCB, you can have something that simply rusts away and breaks down into dust after being exposed to the elements for a while.

  5. So you make poprocks, but instead of compressed carbon dioxide, load them with compressed hydrogen. Can you make a structure that floats? Or is even close to floating? Because you could make a lifting body with some propellers. A sort of food blimp.

  6. I don’t see the point. If it is about being disposable in an environmentally friendly way, the motor and wires are still a problem. if it is about being a way to send emergency food to stranded people, why not drop food from a drone to them rather than making part of the drone edible.

  7. You can tell those who didn’t bother read the reference material.
    This thing can carry half (50%) its total weight in consumable parts, which is food *and* water for a couple days. Many commercial drones are limited to 30-ish percent. So the same amount of food, requires a bigger, more expensive drone to operate.

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