Nov. 29, 2011 at 1:48 PM ET
Soft-glowing lights powered by energy harvested from human waste could soon set the mood everywhere from nightclubs to living rooms, according to an electronics company.
The lights, designed by Philips, are hand-blown glass cells filled with a culture of bioluminescent bacteria that are fed via silicon tubes connected to a source of methane gas harvested from food and body waste.Bio-LightMicrobial Home
The company notes that the bioluminescent lighting is too low-intensity for functional illumination, but says the system could light up the edge of the road at night or power signs pointing to the bathroom at movie theaters and nightclubs.
Another potential use offered by Philips is "new genres of atmospheric interior lighting with, for example, possible therapeutic and mood-enhancing effects."
Though it might take a little getting used to mood lighting powered by poop and wilted lettuce, the concept is another example of how to live more sustainably on a planet with finite resources.
"Energy-saving light bulbs will only take us so far," Clive van Heerden, Senior Director of Design-led Innovation at Philips Design, notes on the company website.
"We need to push ourselves to rethink domestic appliances entirely, to rethink how homes consume energy, and how entire communities can pool resources."
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