Dutch designer Teresa Van Dongen has merged design and biology in her new project

Electricity? So passé. Dutch designer Teresa van Dongen dared to combine biology with the technology by creating an electricity-free lamp—the Ambio—that runs on octopus bacteria.  

By integrating the biosphere into the technosphere, van Dongen saw possibilities to use elements of nature as electronics. Inspired by deep-sea bacteria living on fish skin, she developed a lamp that lights up by activating octopus bacteria.

How does it work? The Ambio lamp is filled with living bioluminescent bacteria to create an artificial sea habitat inside the lamp. Because the bacteria needs oxygen to glow in a blue shade, the lamp was designed to sway from side to side while suspended, in order to mimic the movement of ocean waves that expose bacteria to oxygen. While balancing two weights, the lamp features a glass tube half filled with an artificial seawater medium containing a carefully-selected type of unique luminescent bacteria species called photobacterium. Photobacterium is comprised of approximately 16 different species, both free-living and in colonies, that can survive in the ocean off sodium.

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