Gallery: Algae-Powered Latro Lamp Transforms CO2 Into Light


Designer Mike Thompson has created an incredible living lamp that is powered by algae! Spotted over at Designboom, the Latro Lamp derives energy from an algae chamber that requires just sunlight, CO2, and water to operate. Stick the lamp outside, breathe into it, and voila, you’ve created your own bio battery-powered living lamp.

The lamp is made possible thanks to a recent discovery made by researchers at the universities of Yansei and Stanford. The researchers found that a tiny electrical current can be extracted from algae during photosynthesis. The Latro Lamp features a battery that stores energy generated by the algae throughout the day and a light sensor that controls the lamp’s intensity, preventing the algae from becoming malnourished. Thompson believes this discovery could lead to an algae revolution: “As advances in nanotechnology lead to increasingly energy efficient products, plant life such as algae will become attractive sources for tapping energy,” he says.

For now, though, the Latro lamp remains an idealistic design project — after all, who realistically wants to care for a lamp like a household pet?

+ Mike Thompson

Via Designboom


or your inhabitat account below


  1. Samiel Wir August 23, 2013 at 6:51 am

    shut the f*** up and take my money!!! please!!!

    where can i get one? it’s awsome!

  2. Storm Daigle July 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    so… you leave it out on the porch during the day and when you need it, bring it inside… no problem

  3. Storm Daigle July 8, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    so… where do i get one of these??? i dont mind the daily care of a night light… heck .. i am building my own solar panels… why not the lamp too.

  4. FacebookUser8 March 2, 2013 at 3:41 am

    The first step to for this project.

  5. Gaurikalyani Shekhar February 28, 2013 at 6:45 am

    this is a great idea !

  6. Ashley Beebe October 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    i want it!!!!! please tell me where to order one.

  7. whealexia September 23, 2012 at 6:29 am
    Christian Vivanco ,better concept,no need for interacting with the lamp

  8. vfoltz September 16, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Seems to me from reading the above comments if the holder of this patent doesn’t put the product into design and marketing they’ll be missing out on a lot of cash. as for solar powered lights not working…that’s not true if the back up battery has enough storage!

  9. ashleighgionet September 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    how the heck do I get some of these?!

  10. Mysty September 11, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Oh, I WANT ONE!!!! Or a whole bunch of them. Even if I didn’t HAVE to breathe into it (as someone said above) I still would, just for the fun of it. Great idea even if using algae for energy isn’t his/her idea. The lamp just looks COOL!

  11. rhiannabean September 11, 2012 at 9:51 am

    I would absolutely LOVE one of these, I think its an awesome idea and 100% would get one, I might only be 21 and therefore constantly broke but I’d save my pennies for something like this because its brilliant!

  12. dmedakovic September 11, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I think it’s genius that the lamp requires human care. We need to be more connected with how we create and consume power and even a small activity like this can change our attitudes. Besides that, it’s freakin’ cool and I would buy one in a flash.

  13. Pokinoi September 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    OH MY GOD I would be first in line for several of these. Why are they still just a theoretical idea????

  14. spg -14 April 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    how much algae is in lamp

  15. Tellecomuting, Online S... September 21, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    […] and Technology (IET), which claims that working from home and online shopping actually increase CO2 […]

  16. Rwanda Taps Volcanic "E... August 16, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    […] nation’s economy while also mitigating the danger of lake overturn, in which huge clouds of carbon dioxide are released, suffocating everyone in their […]

  17. realitycheck July 15, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Sorry to be nelly negative, but university researchers did the real creative work of extracting electricity from algae, and Mr. Thompson’s contribution is to attach the system to a light bulb – not much of an addition, really. He did include the rather silly “add CO2 by breathing into it” bit – in reality, this is not necessary, since algae grow just fine without help from the limited CO2 they’d get from an occasional breath. Finally, remember that photosynthesis requires light, which is where you don’t need a lamp! It’s like having a solar powered flashlight! Nice image, but didn’t think it through.

  18. istandforthetrees July 3, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    So awesome! I would totally buy one!

  19. JustBasti July 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    This lamp is just amazing! I\’d love to buy one of these 😀

  20. CureType1Diabetes July 3, 2010 at 11:51 am

    It’s the 2010 answer to the lava lamp. I want one.

  21. Giant Spike Covered Alg... June 28, 2010 at 10:48 am

    […] Pavlína Doležalová and Jan Smékal, the spiraling tower is a 240 meter-high structure covered by air-cleaning algae. The designers envision that a network of these prickly scrapers could be strategically placed in […]

  22. blairsmark8 June 16, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    when can we buy our new living lights? or is it something you turn a old dirty bong into?

  23. macrumpton June 14, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    It looks like it also makes an awesome (if kind of strange tasting) bong.

  24. forumranger June 14, 2010 at 12:24 am

    I know, that should be their freaking marketing campaign. It obviously sounds negative to them, but people are willing to pay for pet rocks, or chia pets, a living lamp sounds awesome and I\’d definitely pay for one!

  25. Zlamzambo June 10, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    “after all, who realistically wants to care for a lamp like a household pet?”

    Me! Me! Me!

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home