Articles, Blog

Headphones Made Of Fungus Could Change How We Use Plastic And Leather

August 29, 2019


These might be the most
groundbreaking headphones of all time. But not for the reasons you might expect. We’re not talking about audio capabilities or Bluetooth functionality, but rather what they’re made of. Fungus, bacteria, and yeast. It turns out, mushrooms and a whole
lot of other microbes can produce materials that
rival plastics and even leather. And there is a team of scientists and designers in Finland doing just that. So, how did they take such unusual materials and turn them into something
that could seriously shake up the world of product design? Nina Pulkkis: The Korvaa project started actually with frustration. Narrator: That’s Nina Pulkkis. She’s the one who started Korvaa, this whole headphone project. Pulkkis: I was filming for a documentary about microbes and synthetic biology. But I was really frustrated because I didn’t have very good samples of what you can actually do with microbes. Narrator: So she set out on a mission to see what could be made with them. She gathered a team of scientists, researchers, and designers to make it happen. Pulkkis: So, first of
all, we started to think, what kind of a product should we make. Géza Szilvay: There was
an idea about making a pair of headphones. Narrator: Headphones worked
for a couple of reasons. First, they are an instantly
recognizable product. Everyone has them. Second, they require lots of leathers and different kinds of plastics, and those aren’t always
sustainable materials. That’s because oil and natural gas are two of the main raw materials
used to make plastics. And in 2017, 368 million headphones
were sold worldwide, a number that’s expected to keep growing. That means a ton of plastic, leather, and synthetic leathers,
materials that rely heavily on nonrenewable,
nonbiodegradable resources. Korvaa’s process is a little different. To start out, the headband
is made of bioplastic. To make that bioplastic, the team uses plain old baker’s yeast. Through chemical processes,
they turn that yeast into a bioplastic substance. That substance gets
3D-printed and hardened. Next, the cushioned ear cups. These are made from fungal proteins and other plant-based
materials grown in the lab. Those materials get injected
right into this mold. And when they’re dry, they
look and feel just like foam. Szilvay: Then the ear-cup covers are made from fungal, leatherlike material. It’s made of mycelium. One could think of it as
root structure of mushrooms. Merja Penttilä: Fungi grow in so-called hyphal filamentous forms, so they form long, long stretches. So the material, in a way, grows itself. Narrator: And those
long stretches of roots will take the shape of
whatever you encourage them to. The result? Something similar to leather. To make the inner mesh part, the team created synthetic spider silk. Spider silk is superstrong,
lightweight, and elastic. But spiders can’t spin enough of it. So they make silk in the lab, without harming any
eight-legged creatures. By electro-spinning that silky
material onto a flat surface, they create a mesh material. Then, all those parts get pieced together to form a one-of-a-kind headset. Manuel Arias Barrantes: I think people have this perception that fungi is something, like, dangerous or, like, gross, because it grows on food also, that it’s rotten. But I think this is
slowly changing as more designers and companies are developing materials from natural sources. Saku Sysiö: For a lot of the materials, we didn’t know how to use them and how to make them work in this project. So that made it quite
challenging and interesting. Pulkkis: So it’s really exciting to see how this kind of small project grew into something really much, much bigger just by teaming up all
kinds of different people with different competencies and completely different backgrounds. Narrator: That team plans to commercialize these unique materials so they can be used in all sorts of products. Would you wear these fungus headphones?

100 Comments

  • Reply FIST PLAYS August 27, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    what if the germs and bacteria go inside brain form ear

  • Reply JessAyu August 27, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Lowkey clicked thinking this video talk about fungus in headphones, not headphone make of fungus 😂

  • Reply Ninad Ganore August 27, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    And then the customs stops you and throws your headphones away…

  • Reply The Meme Boi August 27, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    Won’t the fungi just die after a few days?

  • Reply autistic_egg August 27, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    Asmr warning please my ears are dying and could you please get a person whose nose isn't blocked

  • Reply Muqeet Ahmed August 27, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Unless they are proven to be unharmful to my body, I’d definitely not wear them.

  • Reply Jad AbiNahed August 27, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    These headphones were made by nature

  • Reply VDB August 27, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    Time to get ear cancer!

  • Reply Aimzy FN August 27, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Sounds like a kickstarter

  • Reply Huba Master Official August 27, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Géza Szilvay is HUNGARIAN!! Woop woop!

  • Reply Markiz August 27, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Oh I would wear them they are SOOOO COOL!!!!!!!
    🎧🎧🎧

  • Reply Gouravesh Sharma August 27, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    Imagine leaving your headphones for one night only to find out it has mold on them

  • Reply Mini tomate August 27, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    This headphones are fumongotastic!

  • Reply Alex Franco August 27, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    If these ever rival standard headphones I'd be happy to buy

  • Reply WhiteLion August 27, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Europe is always one step ahead.

  • Reply Santiago Bron August 27, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    It probably sounds better than the beats.

  • Reply Boiled Butterfly August 27, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    Paper cuts down more trees
    Plastic harms the environment

    Rock maybe??
    I mean we have plenty of that

  • Reply Sheikh Tatveel Tayyab August 27, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    What about durability? How durable are they?

  • Reply Be Better August 27, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Awesome & Amazing. Wonder how long they last for under the heat that’s generated between the headphones and the head though?
    Normal headphones can get quite sweaty in the nether

  • Reply am15 August 27, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    No thanks. Keep the headphones and shit the same. It’s the plastic bottles that are causing the issues not every single bit of plastic

  • Reply Lil Vomit August 27, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    number 15: burger king foot lettuce intensifies

  • Reply Xlynxx August 27, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    Smelly ear

  • Reply Green Avacodoes August 27, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    why headphones though.. id imagine people would go for more name brand companies such as bose, sony senhiser.. etc.. if it were me id do bags, backpacks wallets and purses.

  • Reply moostache August 27, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    The worlds most disgusting pair of headphones

  • Reply Faris August 27, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    Scientists : created many alternatives to save the earth

    Also scientists : never put the products on the market

  • Reply Alec Neate August 27, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    I would have liked more information about the bioplastic, you didn't go very in depth

    How does yeast become bioplastic, you just said a chemical process

  • Reply Abdul Raziq Afiq Md Rodi August 27, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    are they got expired date like bread?

  • Reply NickFury August 27, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    Play at 1.25x to make the narrator tolerable

  • Reply Erick A August 27, 2019 at 11:40 pm

    We gotta stop the vegans, if they keep eating the earth we won’t be able to make headphones out of fungus

  • Reply Burgers August 27, 2019 at 11:43 pm

    I feel like I'd get an ear infection

  • Reply piyush dev August 28, 2019 at 12:19 am

    Soon ppl will gonna complain.. That the fungus colony grown in their ear XD ,

    It was just a joke. Cuz they can't grow after being processed. Just dead fungi colony

  • Reply Ain Affnani August 28, 2019 at 1:08 am

    0:7 ew

  • Reply Justin Joy August 28, 2019 at 1:52 am

    Is this edible?

  • Reply A Tree August 28, 2019 at 1:55 am

    Now i can listen to burger king foot lettuce using fungus

  • Reply Sebastian Martin August 28, 2019 at 2:06 am

    I would use them every single day

  • Reply The FireBlaster L0L August 28, 2019 at 3:18 am

    Good stuff for the planet doesn’t go on sale good stuff for the planet and help save lives oh wait to expinsive

  • Reply Joseph August 28, 2019 at 3:36 am

    Now what is the wire made from?

  • Reply Anwesha Prakash August 28, 2019 at 3:41 am

    "Dude, your ears are moldy."

    "Oh, it's all chill."

  • Reply OffBeatBerry 27 August 28, 2019 at 4:00 am

    Germaphobes,

    run.

  • Reply yeetingboy August 28, 2019 at 4:07 am

    great, now my grandparents have a reason to save their foot fungus

  • Reply No Name August 28, 2019 at 5:01 am

    Wears to school*
    Becomes a fun guy*

  • Reply Aemilius August 28, 2019 at 5:07 am

    Do they expire

  • Reply Erik Weber August 28, 2019 at 5:16 am

    why didn't they make functional headphones? it was just cosmetic….super cool but a working model and sound quality test would have been superb

  • Reply Franz Stephen Cortes August 28, 2019 at 5:27 am

    Hello ear infections 😂

  • Reply Tundra August 28, 2019 at 6:00 am

    This is not new news. We've known that we can replace plastic for a long ass time now and our dumb ass corporations are just ignoring it.

  • Reply Andy August 28, 2019 at 6:02 am

    You do know they don’t use real leathers on the headphones unless they’re from a luxury company/brand…

  • Reply elelelia _s August 28, 2019 at 6:21 am

    why woukd i out yeats on my ears i woukd have an infection stupid

  • Reply Leo Oscar Crystal August 28, 2019 at 6:22 am

    Fungus among us

  • Reply jahid ali August 28, 2019 at 6:59 am

    Do they work?

  • Reply terra riley August 28, 2019 at 7:04 am

    I wonder what the sound quality is like

  • Reply Spectacular Ultimate Spider-Man August 28, 2019 at 7:30 am

    I thought you said fudge

  • Reply Syeed Ali August 28, 2019 at 8:01 am

    Why does my dog keep eating my headphon– oh.

  • Reply Someone Lazy August 28, 2019 at 9:12 am

    What if the fungus continues to grow in your ears? 🤔🤔

  • Reply Plans for the Creative Commons August 28, 2019 at 9:14 am

    How is natural gas used to make plastic exactly?

  • Reply fulcrum August 28, 2019 at 9:19 am

    Scary

  • Reply Nosknut August 28, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Mushroms can also be used to teleport …

  • Reply IEatToaster UwU August 28, 2019 at 10:00 am

    *happy 5 minute crafts noises*

  • Reply Vinayak Verma August 28, 2019 at 10:15 am

    Imagine having fungus ur ears i hope they have tested it before making it public i dont want bacterial or fungal infections

  • Reply Sajid's Toys Review's Backup Account August 28, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Where can I get it?

  • Reply remiem6070 August 28, 2019 at 10:28 am

    Questions:

    1. How susceptible would a person using things made from these materials be to becoming allergic? For instance, yeast infections are very common and can be difficult to treat.

  • Reply Nathan Woo August 28, 2019 at 10:33 am

    New renewable plastics are good but the reason we use fossil fuels is because they’re water proof, strong and light weight. We have pla but it lacks rigidity. And plant or kombucha leather seems more viable than fungus leather considering the labor and scale involved.

  • Reply youtube hulp August 28, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Everybody Gangster when the fungus enters your ear

  • Reply HELLA GAY August 28, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Can I turn those headphones into bread or some type of edible shit? Useful when you have no food

  • Reply Ace Victory August 28, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Nice but it wont sell well

  • Reply azfar azhar August 28, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    To complicated to be efficient than plastic

  • Reply Brian Adam August 28, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    Do they even play anything? They just showed the design

  • Reply Ryan Tay August 28, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    Are they audiophile graded😂

  • Reply Gabriel August 28, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    The thing is, sometimes this kind of things that helps the environment don’t go international

  • Reply Priyansh Singh August 28, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    How long i can wear these headphones till its stale?

  • Reply MsMrapplepie August 28, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    So this is how Cordyceps will transfer to humans.

  • Reply Ferris Salah August 28, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Why tho

  • Reply shinomi August 28, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    I'm only concerned about the sound quality

  • Reply Chloe Lim August 28, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    what if the fungus grows on ur ears..

  • Reply Ali Hussain August 28, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    This reminds me of the phrase "fungal ear infection"

  • Reply Aria Nugroho August 28, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    Nina Pulkkis face will be a meme real time soon

  • Reply Tea August 28, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    So these can decompose your ears?

  • Reply Frank In stein August 28, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    I get it that people want to help the environment, but this is simply disgusting

  • Reply iMEB August 28, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Yeah, I'm tired of all of my headphones' earmuffs peeling. Polyurethane sucks!

  • Reply yogi raj August 28, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    How does it smell?

  • Reply Clay .T August 28, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    They will be need milk a lot of spiders for mass production. Spiders 🕷 will not be treated right. Save the spiders !!!

  • Reply Joe Downing August 28, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    I'd rather wear plastic headphones before I wear Quorn on my head

  • Reply XRainingGamingX August 28, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    ear infection by this thing be hittin different 😩😩🔥🔥

  • Reply You Mama August 28, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    SUOMI PERKELE! TORILLA TAVATAAN

  • Reply CR_Corruptor August 28, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    3:30 reporter: spider silk
    Spider-man fans: SPIDER MAN SPIDER MAN DOES WHATEVER A SPIDER CAN

  • Reply Raziq Baharin August 28, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    Do the spore get into the ear?

  • Reply dojokonojo August 28, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Headphones made of fungus seems cool, but I will be putting a tardigrade buffet on my head and I don't want tardigrades to eat my headphones

  • Reply Jason Fan Club August 28, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    I am going to secure "Mushpods" as a brand name

  • Reply SusandraSingh August 28, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Last month I doctor checked my ears because I was hearing beeping noises.
    Turns out my ears had fungi grown in it.

  • Reply Shevan gomis August 28, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    The Last of Us vibes 🙄

  • Reply Scott Bloomberg August 28, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    Well i mean… yes but also no.

  • Reply Annie R. August 28, 2019 at 10:55 pm

    3:29 but can it be made on a wrist watch sized machine? Asking for a friend called P. Parker

  • Reply Yukinne Kobayashi August 29, 2019 at 12:46 am

    So edible headphones?

  • Reply Ryan W August 29, 2019 at 4:13 am

    This is how we get zombies.

  • Reply WIREFRAME August 29, 2019 at 5:06 am

    I’m not buying them because I don’t want to wear bacteria…who wants to wear bacteria

  • Reply 『 Devneia 』 August 29, 2019 at 5:39 am

    I'm curious on the performance of sound, I'm no enthusiast/audiophile, but still like to know the quality of sound produced aside from the durability and duration of its build

  • Reply Fortunate_ Apid August 29, 2019 at 6:13 am

    no way im giving up my bose qc 35s for these

  • Reply Ruampol Phaobanchong August 29, 2019 at 6:51 am

    Looking good.
    Hoping that cushion ear cups made from fungal protein wont attract some rodent or insect to eat it.

  • Reply Bekind Whaat August 29, 2019 at 6:53 am

    That's beautiful

  • Reply Daniel Koskiluoto August 29, 2019 at 9:36 am

    That's what us finns do! Crazy stuff

  • Reply inox1ck August 29, 2019 at 9:46 am

    As a mushroom fan
    I'll take 2

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