Although the Biobulb is as of now a well-researched concept and not yet a product on the market, the three undergraduate students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison driving the project have recently received $3,020 for their research.1 The money was raised through Rockethub, an online donation portal they received as being one of 24 fi nalists in the Popular Science #CrowdGrant Challenge. The goal is to create a light emitting bulb without electricity. A jar will house different microorganisms which will sustain a population of E-Coli. The E. Coli will be “encoded with the gene for bioluminescence” or be given the ability to produce light in the same manner as a fi refl y emits light.2 More specifi cally, the E.Coli is given a plasmid or a small DNA molecule impregnated with the gene of bioluminescence (ability to produce light). The plasmid has the ability to replicate itself and will use the other microorganisms in the jar as fuel within the closed ecosystem, as well as, ambient light (light available throughout the day) to produce its own light.3 According to the team, the E. Coli works in the “same way as yeast does for baking bread or fermenting beer, except the end product is light.”4 Because the bulb does not currently exist, the biobulb’s wattage in comparison to traditional Halogen or how long it will bright is unknown.
1. “Biobulb.” Rockethub: The World‘s Crowdfunding Machine. Web. Accessed 04 Sept. 2013.
2. Taylor-Hochberg, Amelia. “Biobulb Turns E.Coli Into Sustainable Light Source.” Archinet. Web. Accessed 04 Sept. 2013.
3. Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. “Frontier Fellows Biobulb Project.” Vimeo. Web. Accessed 04 Sept. 2013.
4. Baker, Jess. “Biobulb: Electricity-Free Light Bulb Powered by E. Coli Bacteria.” Weather Underground, Inc. Web. 27 Aug. 2013. Accessed 04
Sept. 2013. <http://www.wunderground.com/news/biobulb-electricity-free-lightbulb-would-use-e-coli-bacteria-20130826>.