Dutch designer Teresa van Dongen has unveiled a fascinating LED pendant lamp that is powered by living, electrochemically-active bacteria. Called “Spark of Light,” this lamp builds on van Dongen’s previous work harnessing bioluminescent bacteria. The lamp is completely self-contained, and can operate without a plug or batteries. However, the organisms within do need to be fed to continue producing light.
The spherical lamp is made of four separate compartments containing the bacteria. As long as they’re happy and healthy, these microorganisms constantly give off small electrical currents. An electrode within each section captures these currents and powers the LEDs in the center of the light.
Van Dongen explained in an interview with Dezeen that as long as a teaspoon of acetate is added to the fluid within the lamp every two weeks, the light will continue to glow without any additional electricity, 24 hours a day. Every few months, the vessels within the lamp must be cleaned and refilled with tap water, salt, and vitamins.
The Spark of Life is just the latest zero-electricity lighting product van Dongen has developed. It should come as no surprise that she studied biology before deciding to pursue a design education in Eindhoven. With any luck, this innovative lamp will soon be available as a consumer product and not just a prototype. The pendant was showcased last month during 2016 Dutch Design Week.