Nano Technology and ‘Living Lighting’

Nanotechnology is an emerging field of science that deals with the manipulation of structures on an atomic and molecular scale – the size of one billionth of a meter. Nanotechnology is often seen as a trend in material science, but has much deeper implications.

Nanotechnology, or more precise nanotechnologies, is an umbrella term for various techniques that scientists use to operate on a nanoscale, ranging from nanostructures, nanocoatings, molecular imaging, nanocircuits, nanosensors, and more. Existing applications range from sunscreens to waterproof mobile phones to life-saving medicines.

Although many people are aware that nanotechnology is very small, there is little discussion of how this emerging technology will change our everyday lives. Nanotechnology radically intervenes with our notion of what is natural. It may help to realize our dreams and significantly improve our lives, but it may also have unforeseen downsides. Hence, there is an urgent need to have a public debate on the potential impact of these new technologies.

With this in mind, a Nano Supermarket bus was developed which has been touring cities across the Netherlands. The NANO Supermarket bus has received over 45.000 visitors since its opening and showcases products which are being developed, or could be developed in the future. Some are life-saving or life-enhancing while some ideas are downright bizarre. I caught up with the bus in Eindhoven and was happy to see that a lighting product was featured.

Latro Living Lamp

People are increasingly aware of environmental issues but often do not know how they can make better choices. The Latro Lamp makes the better choice easy.

The Latro is unique, attractive and friendly to the environment, all at the same time! The Latro uses energy-generating algae that are confined in a unique glass container. Odourless, easy to maintain and environmentally friendly. All you need to do is hang the lamp in a sunny spot so that the algae can collect energy. Blow in the bulb once a month to provide the algae with CO2, and refill with water every six months.

After dark, the lamp will automatically light up. Unfortunately, the lamp doesn’t come with an ‘off’ switch and there are no ideas about how to dim it (yet). But this is a great idea to develop. What do you think?

Visit for more information.

The NANO Supermarket is an initiative of the Next Nature Network, a non-profit organisation that explores how our technological environment becomes so omnipresent, complex and autonomous that we start to perceive it as a nature of its own. We aim to visualize, research and understand the implications of this next nature on our everyday life. We initiate publications in various media (websites, books, DVD, products, games, magazines, software, etc) and organize events. The Next Nature Foundation is based in Amsterdam. The Next Nature Lab is connected to the Industrial Design department of the Eindhoven University of Technology.

By Julie Allen

06 Jan