Part of Philips’s Microbial Home concept, the Bio-Light is a group glass vessels containing a bioluminescent bacteria. The bacteria is suspended in a nutrient bath that is provided from either a biodigester, or just a boring old tank.
Seeing the photos of the lamp, I wondered how much light was actually generated. I still don’t know. I don’t expect the Bio-Light to be useful to read by or anything, but I would expect it to be bright enough to be obviously glowing even in a room that’s moderately lit. Looking into bioluminescent kits, the bacteria in the lamp might be vibrio fischeri. Bacteria isn’t a bad choice for bioluminescent lamps since unlike diatoms, they glow continuously, as opposed to only when disturbed. Another possibility would be to use fungi like armillariella mellea (aka foxfire), but from what I’ve read most fungi are very dim. Mycena chlorophos might be a bit brighter, but Im having problems finding where to purchase it. Personally, I’d feel better having a bunch of mushrooms on my wall rather than bacteria.
Miya Kondo BDes project from the Eindhoven Design Academy are picture frames that emit a diffuse white light into the middle of the empty frames. Called “Composition Light,” she asks whether light itself can be object instead of an just a way to characterize concrete objects.
Personally, I think make nifty accent lights.
The solar power and auto-on features of the Kimono Lantern reminded me pummpers and and SolarRobotic’s PumLantern, but much less spastic. (See video after the jump.)
The PumLantern’s case is clearly inspired by Japanese tatami lamps, but with stencils to break up the light. I recently saw another lamp that did something similar. I can’t say I approve of the choice of stencils, but I do like the idea of shapes covering the individual panels of the lamp.
The folks at TokyoHackerSpace, have taken a break from building geiger counters, and built this rather cute table lamp. According to the write up, this solar powered automatic light was originally intended for tables at a local restaurant.
TokyoHakerSpace’s Kimono Lamp looks a lot like a DIY version of the €35 Marmaled / Jelly Lamp from Semiki, but more technically advanced. (The Marmaled uses a tilt switch and two AAA batteries.) Really, when it comes down to it, the Marmaled’s jar and black label is what sets it apart. Of course, you can always buy jars wholesale
Video of the Kimono Lamp in action after the jump.
Mike Thompson‘s latest project, Latro, again examines using biology as an energy source. Actually, it’s not really a device at all, but rather simply a mock up of a device. According to the detailed description Latro uses 30-nanometer gold electrodes to extract electrical current from the chloroplasts of algae. Like his previous work, owners must consider the source of the energy they are receiving. Before they had to make a cost-benefit calculation, and now they must maintain and care for the energy source.
The Yansei/Stanford team that inspired this work successfully drew a currents of between 1.2 – 12 pA depending on light intensity. Thompson points in terms of amps per area, this is 0.6 – 6.0 mA/cm2. Photovoltaic cells currently operate at about 35 mA / cm2. Extracting a few electrons from photosynthesis is interesting, but it’s hard for me to think of how this could scale to anything beyond a lab bench curiosity, since you need a nanowire in each chloroplast you want to siphon from. So why do this? The Yansei/Stanford team wasn’t actually trying to create a power source, but rather wanted to study electron transfer in photosynthesis.
Clearly, photosynthesis extraction isn’t going to to replace photovoltaics, but it is interesting to think of a world where technology has biological components. Say <biological neural networks to solve complex problems. A sort of biopunk world, or perhaps just Star Trek circa 2370.
Mike Thompson‘s Blood Lamp is a sealed flask containing luminol. When the owner finds himself in need of light, the neck is broken, and the owner uses the jagged edge to cut his finger and drip blood into the liquid contained in the flask.
On a superficial level, the lamp looks like something out of Zork, or something out of an alchemical lab. (Funny, how “menstrual blood of a virgin” is never a magical ingredient. It would be in my magical world.) Thompson says his intention was to bring awareness to how much energy is consumed by each person in a year, and this work does do that in a way that only art can. The other thing that I like about this work is that it uses blood as an energy source.
Like many people, I’ve fantasized about blood powered medical implants, and wondered how such implants would effect the patient’s appetite and energy levels. Earlier this year, an implantable glucose powered fuel cell was tested. Recreating the glucose fuel cell, is probably difficult to make at home, but a blood lamp can be made with a simple order of luminol from online suppliers. Place a solar cell around the luminol, and very inefficient blood powered device can be yours.
Design collaborative Mad Lab‘s chandelier Bacterioptica (located somewhere in New Jersey, much like Toxie. No, not that one, this one.) features exposed fiber optics (courtesy of Del Lighting) routed through petri dishes full of bacteria. As the bacteria colonies mature, the light is attenuated.
Mad Lab’s site implies that it’s available as a kit, but I don’t know if I want E. Coli hanging above the dinner table. Still, the light looks very cool, and I imagine that the light diffused through agar would be very interesting indeed.
Detail photo after the jump.
Martin Bahrij has designed a lamp with a parachute shade that can adjust the illumination by altering its shape. This reminds me of Kisa Kawakami’s Kisawings, which also varied the shade to adjust the lamp’s intensity. While servos to move the Kisawing panels would result erratic light patterns, simply using a servo to draw the shade closed on Bahrij’s lamp would have a much more predictable and expected behavior. It would be doubly nice if the servo and bulb were controlled through a conventional dimming switch.
rAndom International unveiled xhibited “Swarm Light” (video and detail photo after the jump) at Design Miami / Basel last month. The installation consists of the three cubes of white LEDs. The LEDs are lit according to a flocking algorithm, and move in three dimensions around the cubes. Viewers can interact with the light by standing under the different cubes and by using sound to “scare” flock.
Studio Job is exhibiting these two “new” works at Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery in London this month. While these are described as “new works”, it really seems like I’ve seen these. Like in a Restoration Hardware or something. Both of these lights seem really, really familiar. It seems like I remember swatting the wrecking ball once to see if it was a cord or a stiff wire.
All of this just seems oddly familiar.