"Death Suit" That Turns Your Body Into Mushroom Food Will Be Commercially Available This Year

Screenshot/TED

For many people, what happens to their body after they die is very important to them. And with the help of science, we have come a long way from burials and cremations, with rather radical options arriving on the scene for the more unconventional. You can have your body cryogenically frozen, turned into a diamond, and even help restore coral reefs. But if tradition is your thing, inventor Jae Rhim Lee wants you to go about it in an environmentally friendly way, by turning you and your pet into mushroom food.

Co-founder of New York-based startup Coeio, Lee’s quirky concept is designed to get us thinking about death in a different way and start addressing the potential environmental impacts of one’s passing. To do so, Coeio is coming up with a range of “Infinity Burial” products, which the company suggests have minimal environmental repercussions. Think harsh embalming chemicals, coffin materials, carbon dioxide emissions from cremation, and so on.

But Coeio is going further than just biodegradable caskets: They’ve come up with a “death suit” to help you decompose. There’s even a version, which is more like a sack, for your companion animal. This gives the phrase “doggy bag” an entirely new meaning.

Basically, the suit is laced with spores of what the company has coined “infinity mushrooms.” According to the website, this will be “a unique strain(s) of fungi that will be trained to decompose bodies and remediate the industrial toxins in bodies.” Starting off the project with shiitake and oyster varieties, Lee has been feeding the fungi bits of her body to encourage them to start using human tissue as an energy source. We’re not talking severed fingers, of course – she used hair, nails, skin, etc.

The idea is that the mushrooms break down any nasties that have made their way into and accumulated within your body, which we don’t want to go back into the environment. This proposal isn’t completely bonkers: mushrooms have been shown to break down oil and even plastic, so there is science to back up the concept.

While this ninja death suit was first announced five years ago during a TED talk, TakePart reports that it is due to be made available this summer, with the pet option arriving slightly earlier in March. If you fancy one for yourself, it will set you back $999. 

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