This Artist Creates Lamps Powered by Bioluminescent Squid

In case you weren’t worried enough about your own biological mediocrity, a new study says that three out of every four ocean creatures is bioluminescent. In other words, a whopping 75 percent of animals that live in the ocean (and there are a lot of them) are physically capable of producing their own light through bioluminescent bacteria. That’s amazing.

So if you, like us, are feeling a little jealous about the genetic grab bag that life handed you and want some more self-producing light in your life, we’ve got you covered. Meet Sandra Rey, a 26-year-old designer who’s bringing the deep ocean to streets near you.

She’s responsible for a startup called Glowee, which creates lights that glow entirely from genetically modified bioluminescent bacteria, Wired UK reports.

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So how does this magic happen?
 

It starts with the Hawaiian bobtail squid, one of nature’s cutest creations.

Hawaiian bobtail squid: Glowee inspiration
Photo Credit: Flickr, Macroscopic Solutions

 

(You’re welcome.)


 

Glowee takes genes for bioluminescence that naturally occur in the bobtail squid and modifies them to glow even brighter, plugging them into E. coli.

Glowee
Photo Credit: Glowee

 

By squirting some of this tweaked E. coli in the bulb of a lamp, Rey fashioned the first Glowee lamp.

Glowee
Sandra Rey (Photo Credit: Nick Wilson/Glowee)

 

So far, it comes in three forms: a liquid, a gel, and something that Wired UK calls “a version that contains proteins.” We’re unsure what that means, but it sounds like it packs a powerful punch.

Glowee
Photo Credit: Glowee

 

The only problem? Bacteria grow exponentially, so the team at Glowee is still figuring out the kinks of creating a light that can last a little longer than three days.

Glowee
Photo Credit: Glowee

(The current time it takes for the E. Coli to eat all the nutrients available in the shell.) But after that, the sea’s the limit.
 

For a more in-depth explanation of Glowee’s technology and how it was developed, watch Rey’s TED Talk about Glowee and the power it has to shine without pollution.

Pollution-free lights, powered by microbes | Sandra Rey | TED Institute

Designer Sandra Rey has found a way to channel one of nature’s superpowers: bioluminescence. By isolating the DNA that causes some squids to glow, and introducing it into bacteria, she’s created a light source that can glow for three days — without generating the usual pollution.


 
H/t: Wired UK