The future of home lighting? Glowing bacteria produces firefly-like ‘bio-light’

We normally do everything we can to keep disease-causing bacteria out of our homes.But millions of the micro-organisms could one day be harnessed to provide a natural light source running of nothing more than recycled household waste.

For electronics company Philips has devised a ‘bio-light’ that will provide any room in the house with a warm, cosy glow.

The lamp – consisting of a series of glass chambers – provides light using the same bioluminescent method as fireflies and glow worms.The glass jars contain bioluminescent bacteria that emit a green glow when fed methane gas which, in this concept model is pumped into the lighting unit through a household waste digester.Plant biologist Jim Haseloff of Cambridge University said the model was an important development in the search for sustainable light sources.’It’s appealing because it brings two things together which you wouldn’t normally associate,’ he told CNN.’I don’t think you want to imagine that everyone’s going to start putting bacterial cultures into their own home for lighting, but as a way of exploring the idea it’s quite interesting.’When you move out of the normal area – illuminating walkways and things like that – where things could essentially be growing and delivering light for free, that’s where you’re going to have applications.’

Philips believes the technique could be adapted to illuminate roadside verges with glowing plants.

‘Energy-saving light bulbs will only take us so far. We need to push ourselves to rethink domestic appliances entirely, to rethink how homes consume energy, and how entire communities can pool resources,’ Clive van Heerden of Philips Design said.

‘Designers have an obligation to understand the urgency of the situation, and translate humanity‚Äôs needs into solutions.’