LEDs, compact florescents, and a host of other new ideas have entered the market over the years to help move us away from energy wasting incandescent bulbs. But what if you could literally grow your own energy-efficient source of illumination? We’ve all caught lightning bugs in the summertime, but what if their natural, rechargeable glow could be harnessed to light our homes? Treehugger has this report about a new research project that relies on bacteria to create a natural bioluminescent glow:
Discovery News reports that the Biobulb will include a genetically engineered species of E. coli bacteria, the kind living inside the intestines of humans and other animals. “Normally, these bacteria don’t glow in the dark, but researchers plan to introduce a loop of DNA to the microbes that will give them the genes for bioluminescence. The bacteria will glow like lightning bugs, jellyfish and bioluminescent plankton.”
“The Biobulb is essentially a closed ecosystem in a jar,” biochemistry major Michael Zaiken said in their Rockethub pitch. “It’s going to contain several different species of microorganisms, and each organism plays a role in the recycling of vital nutrients that each of the other microbes need to survive.
All of this sounds great, but what may hurt the concept’s marketability is the bacteria factor itself. Parents are so paranoid about bacteria these days that our ultra-clean, disinfected environments might actually be causing allergies in children. Just think about the paranoid nightmares a broken bulb might cause. So while I think it’s a great idea, and I wish them all the luck in the world with their natural bulb, recharged with ambient light, using no electricity, I’m not optimistic about ever being able to buy one at Home Depot.
If you’re a little more optimistic than me, you can help them kickstart the project at Rockethub, with rewards starting at the $100 level that allow you to create your own Biobulb at home.