How we could use it
Bioluminescence produces low-intensity light, more suitable for tracing, warning, ambience and indication than functional illumination. Its speed of generation, being dependent on chemical reaction, is slower than most conventional light sources and the life form itself must be kept alive. But it needs no wires and is independent of the electricity grid. The living nature of the material provides interesting possibilities for changing, unpredictable, environmentally responsible ambient effects.
Some possible uses might include
• Night-time road markings, e.g. bioluminescent plants that indicate where the edge of the road is
• Warning strips on flights of stairs, kerbsides etc.
• Informational markings in low-light settings, eg. theatres, cinemas, nightclubs
• Diagnostic indicators, e.g. a colored body health map in the home apothecary, pollution levels, local bacterial ecology etc.
• Monitoring the status of diseases like diabetes in individual patients, using bioluminescent biosensors
• New genres of atmospheric interior lighting with, for example, possible therapeutic and mood-enhancing effects.
Far-future design concepts
The bio-light is part of the Microbial Home Probe, a far-future design concept. It is not intended as a production prototype nor will it be sold as a Philips product. Like past Probe Design Concepts that have stimulated discussion around a range of issues, this concept is testing a possible future – not prescribing one.
19 October 2011