Mushrooms as Packing Material

Here is an interesting company, Ecovative, which is selected as the winner of the 2013 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. The Buckminster Fuller Challenge recognizes innovative initiatives that advance human well-being and the health of our planet’s ecosystems. The award, which is named after one of the most important futurists and visionaries of the 20th century, is also known as “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award.”

Vimal K. Puthiyadath

Now what is cool about Ecovative is that they create packaging and building materials from fungus. Mycelium, the root-like threads that form the basis for fungus is like a glue to create a super-dense network of threads. Ecovative grows it in dark cartons for three to five days, after which they use extreme heat to stop it from blossoming spores.

This process is important because Mycelium, which can grow miles of thread-like roots in days is ideal for manufacturing and it can grow to fit any mold, almost like dense foam. Ecovative grows everything from finely detailed packaging for laptops, to wide panels of insulation for homes. They're also able to control the density of each product, simply by stopping the growth process sooner or later. This provides great design flexibility to support any form factor even if it is complex.

I strongly believe that this company will attract attention and this may be an interesting choice for the medical device packaging as in addition to protecting the medical device, it also provides thermal insulation. What do you think?

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Vimal K. Puthiyadath, Biomedical Electronics Engineer

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