The need to minimize the energy we use need not necessarily impact adversely on the form or function of a device. This premise is elegantly demonstrated by Ambio, a "bacterial lamp" created by designer Teresa van Dongen. Ambio merges sleek design with a soft glow created by bioluminescence.

Gizmag has featured lamps that use bioluminescent bacteria before, including the Philips Bio-Light and the Dino Pet night-light for children. The Ambio, however, is an example of how the concept might be employed for a more conventional home lamp.

"Ambio balances two weights and a glass tube half-filled with an 'Artificial Seawater Medium' containing a carefully selected type of these unique luminescent species," explains van Dongen on her website. "Give the lamp a gentle push every so often and the weights will keep it moving and thus glowing."

The bacteria species used in Ambio is known as Photobacterium and is extracted from octopi. The luminescence is caused by a chemical reaction when the bacteria comes into contact with oxygen, hence the tube is only half-filled so as to facilitate this contact.

The lamp would not be entirely practical now, as the bacteria would eventually die, but work is ongoing to find out how the lifespan of the bacteria can be prolonged for a possible next generation of Ambio.

The video below shows Ambio in use.

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