WATCH | A team of artists with a penchant for science are using the luminous quality of tiny bioluminescent plankton to create living, glowing products.
Making art with DNA
BioPop began as Yonder Biology, a company that was focused on making DNA artwork. They have created art through biology, creating live pets that use naturally occurring bioluminescence that glows at night.
CEO and co-founder Andy Bass began exploring how a natural living light could be created when his team discovered how fun and incredible small photosynthetic plankton called dinoflagellates were.
Origins on Kickstarter
Bass and his crew cared for their dinoflagellates like pets -- giving them the correct lighting, temperature conditions and occasional feeding of nutrients to allow them to thrive.
The Dino Pet was then launched on Kickstarter to see if other people would be interested in caring for glowing organisms, and it ended up being a huge hit.
How does it work?
Bioluminescence is the production and emission of natural light by a living organism. It's created by a chemical reaction, and many different living things have the ability to do it -- including fireflies, jellyfish, some fungi and even some worms.
Dinoflagellates gain energy from the sun during the day (like a plant) then convert this stored energy to light energy at night.
BioPop has three bioluminescent products:
- Dino Pet, a dinosaur-shaped aquarium
- Dino Sphere, an orb-shaped aquarium
- Bloom: a cube-shaped flower vase
Think of a Dino Pet like a houseplant: You need to give them sunlight, the right temperature and some nutrients every so often. Properly cared for, they can last for months.
The dinoflagellates inside will only glow while they’re in motion (gentle swirling or even tapping cause them to light up), just as in nature. BioPop grows dinoflagellates in a greenhouse-like environment and it provides the same basic elements (light, seawater and nutrients) for the dinoflagellates to thrive, but on a larger production scale.
BioPop is looking to launch a new animal shape in 2017, which Bass promises to be amazing.
One of the main objectives for BioPop was to create transformational moments for those who interact with their products and to create an opportunity to fuel one's imagination and interest in science.
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