A Green Lamp That Lives and Breathes

Latro lamp uses algae to produce light
Latro lamp uses algae to produce light

It sounds sci-fi, but, you could have a living, breathing lamp in your apartment.

Latro, which is Latin for "thief," is a bionic lamp (left) designed by Netherlands-based designer Mike Thompson. It was inspired by a photosynthesis experiment sponsored by Stanford University and Yonsei University in Japan, and, operates similarly to the sour lamp RentedSpaces profiled earlier. The photosynthesis of algae plants is converted into an electrical current, which powers the lamp.

The energy-efficient Latro lamp is described by Thompson as a "living, breathing product". He writes, "Owners of Latro are required to treat the algae like a pet – feeding and caring for the algae rewarding them with light."

Could harnessing algae be a viable alternative energy source? Or is it wrong to use living creatures to serve our needs this way? It's not exactly akin to daisy-chaining the erratic, fast energy of kittens, puppies, or gerbils to power electricity, (not that this is possible, or that we're suggesting it!), but is it right...?