Philips Bio-Light: Bacteria as Energy Source
Philips’ newest Microbial Home concept is a resourceful and visually dynamic bio-light that uses bioluminescent bacteria, fed with methane and composted material (poop and waste) as an energy source. As you can see, this light is not only an achievement technologically and scientifically, but it is pretty impressive aesthetically as well.
For Philips, however, this is more than a light — it is a life-changing idea: “Potentially biological products could be self-energizing, adaptive, responsive, self-repairing, act as biological sensors to environmental conditions, and change the way we communicate information.”
So there’s waste, and then light, but how does it work? In scientific terms, bioluminescent organisms produce luciferase, an enzyme, which interacts with a molecule called a luciferin, which emits light. This type of light is produced at low temperatures (unlike incandescence, where light is produced as a result of high heat).
Luminescent light is consequently less intense, described as “more suitable for … ambience and indication than functional illumination”. It is slower than conventional light sources, and its functionality depends on the living material’s life itself. What’s cool about that, though, is that the light emitted is susceptible to change, and likely to react to its environmental setting. Essentially, it’s an ambiance-creating light source with a life of its own.
Philips sees a more practical future for this concept in night-time road markings, warning strips on flights of stairs, informational markings on cultural institutions, and the like. As well, they see potential in its ability to create new genres of atmospheric interior lighting, that could potentially have therapeutic effects. All of this said, there are no plans to sell this light as a Philips product. Instead, it is intended to spark discussion: “this concept is testing a possible future — not prescribing one.” Oh well… we can dream!
In the meantime, you can have a look at some other Philips Microbial Home concepts here. For more information on the bio-light, click here.
- Gabrielle Doiron