Bacterial Lamp – Thinkibility Nibble

“I aim to create a living lamp that needs as little care as a houseplant.”

Teresa van Dongen

Have you ever watched a stretch of beach lit up by bioluminescent plankton? Glowing bioluminescent waves and organisms have been used as inspiration  and innovative solutions to human problems. The zero electricity lamp was designed by Design Academy Eindhoven graduate student Teresa van Dongen.

Thus, in this case a designer looked into the possibility of using biomimicry to create a lamp that glows with bioluminescent bacteria.  The invention was not from an engineer  nor  a biologist nor a technology or biology student . The idea to design a lamp came before the practicalities with using bacteria were explored.

This “upside down” approach is interesting for several reasons and we will explore this design process in more detail in the next blog post.


 The Ambio lamp is made of a  steel frame that holds a glass tube. The tube is filled with artificial seawater and bacteria from an octopus. The lamp glows when the bacteria are oxygenated, which is done by pushing the frame so that the lamp beings to rock. The technical aspects of this lamp may need some further researcher – the bacteria can only live about three days before they need to be replaced. Yet, this a step towards developing sustainable products for the home.

We have previously written about Blue Economy – an approach towards innovation where sustainability is the result of a production process that is integrated as an ecosystem – and  bioluminescence  and biomimicry. Have a look at this blog posts if you have not read them before.



2 Replies to “Bacterial Lamp – Thinkibility Nibble”

  1. Pingback: Blue Think Dive

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