Experience the Magic of Bioluminescence


Unbelievably Cool Bioluminescent Organisms in 10 Videos

Bioluminescent animals are definitely amongs the coolest creatures on earth. And that’s not just because they glow. Mostly, they glow for a reason, that’s what make them so amazing! From fish to fungi, these incredible organisms use their natural light to attract food, mates, and even use their bioluminescence for protection. 

The list of bioluminescent animals that populate our world is pretty long, so we came up with a list of our favorite 10 Unbelievably Cool Bioluminescent Organisms to introduce you to some of the most fascinating light producing specimens on Earth.

“Over half of the oxygen on Earth is made from phytoplankton, so to all you dinoflagellates out there: thank you for your beautiful light and for the fresh air we breathe!”

Check out the videos below to see the amazing light shows any of the organisms is producing!

1. Clusterwink Snail (Hinea Brasiliana)

Snails: More than just a Cool Name!

Found in the shorelines of Australia, these small deepwater snails have more than just a cool name – they also have an amazing shell that shines brightly to warn off potential predators. Scientists believe that clusterwink snails use bioluminesce to appear bigger than they really are when predators lurk around them. Marine biologists have recently discovered that the clusterwink shell helps disperse and amplify the light made by the snail inside.

2. Hawaiian Bobtail Squid (Euprymna Scolopes)

Now that’s Friendship!

The Hawaiian bobtail squid is not bioluminescent itself, but it does have an awesome way of emitting light: These cephalopods have a symbiotic relationship with light-producing bacteria, meaning that the squid and bacteria help each other survive in the wild. When born, the Hawaiian bobtail squid produces mucus around their light organ to capture the bioluminescent bacteria. The squid releases the bacteria in the morning so they can replenish themselves and by nighttime the squid’s light organ is full again. The bacteria camouflages the Hawaiian bobtail squid from predators by producing light that hides the squid’s moonlight shadow. In return, the squid feeds the bacteria with a mixture of sugar and amino acids.

3. New Zealand Glow Worm (Arachnocampa Luminosa)

Witness and Incredible Light Show!

Inside the Waitomo Caves in New Zealand, a special event is made possible by the bioluminescent light of the New Zealand Glow Worm. This unique “worm” is actually a larva that produces a silky, mucus-covered thread that hangs from the ceilings of caves to catch insects. Scientists believe that these glow worms use their bluish light to attract insects into the cave and onto their sticky threads.

Another interesting trait of the New Zealand glow worm is its life cycle: The glow worm spends most of its life as a larva, about 6 to 12 months. Then, the larva will start its pupa stage creating a cocoon, glowing periodically for 1 to 2 weeks, at which point a gnat emerges for the sole purpose of reproducing for 2 to 3 days.

4. Dana Octopus Squid – Taningia danae

Shy Deep Sea Creatures

The Tanigia danae uses giant light producing organs at the end of its arms (so called ‘photophores’) to stun predators and preys alike. The Dana octopus squid can grow to be 7 feet in length, and its photophores grow to be about the size of a lemon!

These deep sea creatures are pretty shy, so scientists have had some difficulty studying them. But a few years ago, Japanese scientists were able to film this amazing animal with the help of a remotely operated underwater vehicle named Deep Discovery.

5. Velvet Belly Lantern Shark (Etmopterus Spinax)

Nerves and Hormones Lighting Control

A member of the dogfish shark family, the velvet belly lantern shark is only about half a meter in length. These small sharks were made famous by researchers in 2011 because it was discovered that this shark does not use bacteria or chemical reactions for biolumination, but instead, they rely on nerves and hormones to control their light. It is believed that lantern sharks use their bioluminescence and their naturally shimmering skin to hide from predators, as well as attract mates. Researchers hope to someday learn exactly which substances fuel the shark’s bioluminescence.

6. Hatchetfish (Sternoptyx Obscura)

Fish Controlled Color and Intensity

The ‘hatchetfish’ gets its name from its unique shape: Its large head and small tail looks like the outline of a hatchet. Hatchetfish grow upto 10 cm in length and have big round eyes that point upward so that they can find prey, namely plankton and shrimp. But, just because they are hunters does not mean that they are safe from predators. This is why hatchetfish have evolved bioluminescent underbellies so that they can hide from predators that look up to the light for food. Hatchetfishes have the ability to control the intensity and color of light from their photophores to match the light above them for maximum camouflage.

7. Bamboo Coral (Keratoisis Flexibilis)

Touched Color Brightness

Coral does not look like an animal, but it is! In fact, corals are made from groups of animals called polyps that use limestone in the ocean water to create a hard shell to protect their soft bodies. Coral is known for its beautiful bright colors, but bamboo coral takes its beauty to another level. Blue light shimmers throughout the entire length of the bamboo coral when it is touched. Unfortunately, scientist still do not know why bamboo coral produce their bioluminescent light.

8. Atolla Jellyfish (Atolla Wyvillei)

Alarm! Alarm!

The atolla jellyfish is also known as the “alarm jellyfish” because it uses bioluminescence when it is attacked. But what makes atolla so interesting is that its lights are not used to scare off or confuse its predators, but to call other predators to prey on its attackers. For this jellyfish, bioluminescence is not just a mode of protection: it functions as a way to communicate with other fish.

9. White Spore Mushrooms (Mycenoid Fungi)

Bioluminescent Mushroom Species

Brazil is home to the most bioluminescent mushroom species in the world. Biologists discovered eight new luminescent species of mushrooms in Brazil in 2008 alone. They found that 70% of mycenoid fungi (white spore mushrooms) are bioluminescent, making it the most diverse of all 4 mushroom lineages known to glow.

Biologists still do not fully understand how mushrooms create light, but they note that the chemical process is similar to that of bioluminescent bacteria like dinoflagellates. Mycologists believe that some mushrooms glow to attract animals to help spread spores, while other mushrooms use their luminescence as a defense mechanism, calling the attention of the animals that prey on the insects that feed on the mushrooms.

10. Dinoflagellates (Pyrocystis Fusiformis)

‘Dinoflagellates’ are an incredible species of plankton because they have an internal clock that tells them when to photosynthesize and and when to become bioluminescent. These unicellular organisms use the sun to create energy in much the same way plants do, and they use their bioluminescence at night as an alarm when they’re in danger.

Just another post on bioluminescence, following my earlier posts ‘Biolumenescent Trees‘, ‘Fireflies – Lighting Up the Dark” and “Bioluminescent Plankton. Hope it contributes to an even broader understanding of the ‘Miracle of Light’!

This post was kindly inspired by:
10 Videos of Unbelievable Bioluminescent Organisms on Biopop


Where are the Stars?

How Light Pollution Affects the View of the Night Sky

If you have never seen a clear, starry sky from a place devoid of light pollution then you don’t know what you’re missing. Here’s a short video by Asif Islam on how light pollution affects the view of the nightly sky. The chain of timelapse movies shows how the view gets progressively better as the light pollution reduces all over the US – from Los Angeles to Great Basin desert.

Find the Darkspots

The darkspots were determined by using darksitefinder.com on finding the locations. Traveling and shooting at every level of light pollution was a challenge. Furthermore, I was mostly alone in some of the locations, which is a bit scary because of the presence of wildlife (bear, mountain lion, snake). Despite the challenge, I was awestruck by the beauty of night sky at very less polluted areas.

Sky Glow and Milky Way

Most of us live under heavily light polluted skies, and some people have never even seen the Milky Way. During a 1994 blackout, L.A. residents called 911 when they saw the Milky Way for the first time. Although we can’t imagine popular cities like L.A. and Manhattan almost dark upon nightfall, we can limit the light pollution specially the sky glow. Sky glow is the result of light directed upward instead of where it is most useful: on streets and homes. Thus most of a city’s artificial light is wasted anyway.

We’re loosing our Connection…

We are losing our connection with the night sky, which provided us with wonders like Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Giza and the Mayan calendar. It also keeps our overworked, politicized lives simple, and makes us kind, thoughtful. Astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson said: “When you look at the night sky, you realize how small we are within the cosmos,” “It’s kind of resetting of your ego. To deny yourself that state of mind, either willingly or unwittingly, is to not live to the full extent of what it is to be human.”

Tips & Trics

Before looking for a dark site, consider what it is you want to see. For many people, getting to a 100% dark sky is not possible without spending an entire day driving. Especially on over-crowded areas, it is hard to find a site where the sky is dark in the direction you want to observe. But keeping a particular direction in mind when finding your spot, will certainly be of great help. For example if you want to see the core of the milky way galaxy, look for a place that is dark to the south with no major cities in that direction.

New Luximprint Website on Air!

Illumarco_New Luximprint Website

The new corporate website of Luximprint is live! After some months of hard work and setting up this new venture, we recently soft-launched our new online platform. Some work needs to be done and things need to be optimized and completed, but the we’re up and running! Discover the new service for prototyping functional and decorative optical plastics by means of 3D printing!

Optically Clear and Smooth Surfaces

Luximprint utilizes a new base technology for 3D printing functional and decorative plastics 3D printing. This novel process makes it possible to rapidly create functional and decorative optical plastics, including textured surfaces, Optographix, optical plastics, reflectors and mold tooling using state of the art 3D printing technology. Most notable are the translucency the process offers, and the smooth surfaces straight from the printer, what opens door to new applications and markets.

A Revolutionary AM Technology

Luximprint technology offers new possibilities for graphimedia, communication agencies, event marketing, designers and (light) artists. Flagship products includes stained glass replicas, premium business cards, lightworks of art, advertising signs, labels and decalls, company signage, awards, and many more to come!

Guess you might be curious about the things to come. Will keep you updated about the progress!

3D Printed Ophthalmics: Fact or Fiction?

Last week, I have had the honor to support Luxexcel – the company I proudly served during the early start-up stages – once again from my next position at Luminous Concepts. Being part of the event team for the Vision East Expo in New York City, I witnessed the launch of Luxexcel’s rapidly evolving 3D printing technology towards an audience of eyewear specialists including optical laboratories, eyewear brands, software firms and designers. The inaugural eyewear event was an overwhelming success and clearly confirmed the future strategy and refined business model for Luxexcel. Now, the opthalmics industry needs to wake up, it’s getting VERY serious. Moreover, it needs to prepare for a different future, and below is why.

Next Quality Level – Novel Focus!

After reaching imaging optics quality by the end of last year, the corporate Luxexcel governance decided to bring enhanced focus to its activities. After acting as a ‘multi-market service provider’ for printed optics over the last couple of years, the business strategy was thoughtfully taken over the last months to a next level: providing 3D printing equipment with ophthalmics quality. After several years of hard pioneering work and test marketing, the company decided to go out and share the achieved ophthalmics performances with the rest of the market. Vision East NYC was the launching event for this groundbreaking optics 3D printing technology.

From ‘Manufacturing-as-a-Service’ to ‘Pay per Use’

Luxexcel will provide the users with a full set-up including the hardware (3D printer), consumables, software and full service and maintenance support. The complete value package will exclusively be available to ophthalmics labs and companies in very specific, high-end market niches (ophthalmics specialties).

Seamless Lab Integration

Meanwhile, Luxexcel is preparing the outplacement of its first opthalmics 3D printers in optical laboratories around the globe after summer. After gearing up for launch in the last year through an iterative learning process in various ophthalmics laboratories and test market niches, the company is now getting ready to take a next challenge!

Illumarco_3D printed opthalmics_Luxexcel_seamless lab integration.jpgThe Luxexcel Opthalmics 3Dprinting equipment seamlessly fits in the actual opthalmics laboratory set-ups

WANTED: Independant Ophthalmics Laboratories!

Luxexcel actively seeks the cooperation with (independant) optical laboratories to spread it’s core technology in a variety of eyewear market niches and applications. Interested labs are strongly encouraged to reach out to Luxexcel and discover the value for their business.  Also, joint development programs are offered to potentially strategical technology users with upwards potential to enrich their portfolio and open up new ways of fabrication in a much more flexible and sustainable way!

Enabling Eyewear Technology

The ultimate goal of Luxexcel is not just to economize the actual supply chain, to ‘green’ it and to make it more efficient. Intentionally, the enabling Luxexcel technology opens doors to novel products and applications in high end market niches. This is where Luxexcel want’s to open up doors to applications that were never available before, for example because conventional fabrication technologies lack.

Embedded (secondary) materials, such as electronics and thin-films, VR and AR applications, can now be foreseen with custom focal power. Those and many other new possibilities are now getting within the reach of any lab. Luxexcel launched an amazing set of inspirational showcases at Vision East, just to show its users what can be achieved today, and in the future!

Illumarco_Luxexcel_Vision East Expo_Showcases launchAt Vision East, Luxexcel introduced a variety of inspiring showcases created by its new eyewear technology.

Inspiring Concepts for Today and Tomorrow

3D printed lenses, in ophthalmic quality, are a game changer in the ophthalmic industry. Luxexcel technology is enhanced every day, aiming to make its enabling technology available to the market in 2017. The availability will open up new possibilities in design, process optimize todays processes and allow eyewear developers and designers to create new and unique concepts.

More specifically, eyewear laboratories will soon have the possibility to work with Luxexcel hard- and software directly from their position in the actual supply chain and start to create new and inspiring eyewear concepts, inspired by designers from various backgrounds. Assembled in Europe, the optical 3D printers are ready to be outplaced soon and enrich the laboratories’ offering.

Freedom of Design

3D printed opthalmics come with absolute design freedom. With Luxexcel technology, not only the lens surfaces can be freeform, there are virtually no limitations any longer to the design of the lens shapes as well. As frames now can be embedded (encapsulated) in the lens itself, there is no physical boundary anymore, designers can work easily around it.

Illumarco_Luxexcel_Vision East Expo_Decorative_Tattoo_ShowcasesEyewear specialties, such tattoo lenses, can now be tailored to the users’ needs.

Also, decorative elements such as images, alignment marks, logo’s and brand names can now easily be added to the lens surfaces, in one single process. It provides designers with new tools to customize their next generations of eyewear. On the contrary to customizing the frames, the design revolution of the last decade, they can now start to be creative with the lenses and their clarity itself!

Wrap Up and Future Expectations

After the inaugural launch at the Vision Expo East 2017, functional 3D Printed Opthalmics are now within the reach of every eyewear professional. I am thrilled to see how the company is starting to make a real difference in the eyewear world. The technology has enormous potential in this field, and the need for change and diversification is huge.

What we’ve seen at Vision East last week, is just a glimpse of what the company is working on. Luxexcel is finally getting ready for a next stage of growth, and it’s technology – with its disruptive power – is ready for it!


Fully 3D Printed Glasses – New York City Trial

User Testimonial

Along with the Vision East Expo, I had the honor to be part of a selected user group wearing world’s first FULLY 3D printed glasses. Both the frame, sourced from Monoqool, a trendy eyewear brand, and the glasses provided by Luxexcel, were fabricated using novel additive manufacturing processes.

After wearing my customized pair of 3D printed lenses for over three showdays (and nights), I can confirm that it’s quality is pure and unequalled. Both for operational tasks and going around at the show and in New York City, the glasses performed to my satisfaction. The view, both near and far, is of proper quality and I faced no serious problems when going around, reading signs (including the glare at Broadway) or doing concentrated task work.

The lenses as used for this test case had zero focal power, but the clarity and uniformity of the lenses were satisfactory. Both the outside – that’s been hard coated and AR coated – and the ‘lookthrough’ were of excellent quality!

Even as a ‘non-eyewear’ user, I can confirm the glassess are fine for all-day use. I am looking with great interest and expectations forward to the further roll-out of Luxexcel’s Technology in the US and European ophthalmics markets!

Illumarco_Luxexcel_Vision East Expo_Testimonial fully 3D printed glassesUltimate ‘design freedom’: Lady Liberty through printed glasses, as clear as crystal… fenomenal!

Pictures in this post are property of either the author or Luxexcel. All rights reserved.

Interview(s): 3D Printing Lighting Objects and Components – How does the Future look like?

Recently, I’ve been invited to give a dual interview for The Light Design, an online magazine dedicated to light and to the role it plays in cultural and creative industries, as well as in everyday life. I am delighted to share it with you for a deeper understanding of the future of additive manufacturing for lighting professionals!

Creative Light in Everyday Life

The Light Design caters to technicians, architects, artists, and to all those involved in creative fields. The magazine’s articles analyse light from different points of view, and tackle topics that range from concert and theatre lighting to the role of light in art and architecture, without neglecting interior, residential, commercial and architectural lighting.

The Light Design nicely captured the interviews on their inspiring blog. Here you can read the full interviews:

#1 – 3D Printing a lighting object – how does the future look like?
#2 – 3D printing of Lighting Components

Enjoy the perspectives, and please don’t be afraid to talk back, either via The Light Design Forum or just leave your comments in the footer section of this blog.

3D Printing Eleven_Article Banner

3DPrinting.Lighting – Technology and Inspiration Blog for Lighting Professionals

Finally, I could recommend you following the blog 3Dprinting.Lighting to stay informed about the latest developments, inspiration and practical user cases.

Make sure you won’t stay behind in the 3D Printing Revolution!

Plotting the Path of Light

Plotting the Path of Light: From the burning Ebers of a Camp Fire to the Glow of the Smartphone

And there was Light!
Sunlight has been around since the creation of our planet. Apart from heating the atmosphere, it’s essential in all we do. Allthough we frequently complain about light pollution, we can’t imagine living in complete darkness. ‘Lost in Light‘ – how light pollution affects the nightly sky – was a movie I wrote about earlier. Watch it, it’s amazing!


Shaped by Light
Have you ever thought about how light shaped human being over time? The short animation film on top of this blogpost helps you to understand the path of light over centuries. From the burning ebers of a campfire towards a lighthouse beacon and the articifial light glow of a smartphone. Join us on this history of light!

This blogpost was inspired by National Geographic. The movie in this post was sourced from Stephen Ong Motion.

Windlicht by Roosegaarde – A Celebration of the Beauty of Green Energy

“Windlicht” is an artwork by Studio Roosegaarde showing the beauty of green energy. By means of special software and tracking technology, the windmill blades are detected to rotate at 280 km / hour. Straight green lines of LED light are connecting the blades of the individual windmills. It creates a dynamic play of light and movement.


Linking Light and Landscape

With Windlight, Roosegaarde intends to create the missing link between the Dutch and the beauty of our new landscape. I appreciate this project very much because of its awareness generating power to the crowd. The majority of local citizens may complain for years, see these ‘giants’ as a thorn in the flesh, call it horizon pollution. But times are changing, this next generation 21st century windmills are amidst us and part of our next generations life. While struggle about finding appreciated locations at sea goes on, the need and urgency of renewable energy keeps growing. Windlight can be experienced for free on the Eneco windfarm at Sint Annaland in Zeeland, Netherlands.


Waterlicht on Display in Middelburg, Zeeland, NL

By the way, I heard that the City of Middelburg invited Studio Roosegaarde to illuminate the celebration of 800 years Middelburg City in 2017 by means of it’s Waterlicht installation, an earlier success story of this amazing studio. If you ask me, there’s no more important area in all Western-Europe for raising water flood awareness… Curious to see how that works out!

If you want to learn a bit more on this wonderful area, please refer to the ‘About‘ page of this blog, there’s an impressive movie embedded on this particular area.

Pictures in this post are sourced from Studio Roosegaarde.