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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Adorable dino night light powered by algae

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CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Credit: Yonder Biology)

A 3D-printed dinosaur is filled with bioluminescent algae to glow in the dark, fuelled by photosynthesis.

No batteries, no switches, no power cords — the Dino Pet night light is a toy that is actually alive. It's not going to walk or talk, of course; it's filled with living, bioluminescent algae that allows it to glow in the dark — dinoflagellates.

The idea is that the Dino Pet, currently seeking Kickstarter backing, is actually a dino pet — a dinosaur-shaped toy filled with dinoflagellates that needs to be "fed" with sunlight in order to allow it to glow brilliantly at night. It could be used as a teaching tool about biology, as well as a friendly presence to keep the night-time monsters at bay.

Each batch of Dino Pet micro-organisms will live for approximately one to three months if fed with nothing but sunlight, but "dino food" (a mixture of salt water and nutrients) available from creator Yonder Biology can prolong their life indefinitely — and more batches of dinoflagellates can be purchased if one dies completely.

Each Dino Pet will be 3D printed out of polyethylene-based plastic, with an aperture that can be opened to either feed the pet or add more dinos — and, although drinking either the algae mixture or the food is not advised, both are non-toxic.

A Kickstarter pledge of US$40 is the current lowest price for a Dino Pet, but with international shipping, it comes to US$125 (ouch!), with an estimated delivery date of April 2014. Refills of dino food, lasting four to six months, cost US$10 each.

You can check out more info and pledge your support on the Dino Pet Kickstarter page.


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