Archive | September 2013

Week 8

Rebecca says:

What happened this week?

This week was exciting as we had some prints of the squid made up by Danny at Vivenda, and they look very cool!

Proto squid

The models are based on the Hawaiian bobtail squid, which forms a symbiotic relationship with the bioluminescent bacteria that we’re using to create light.

What did you learn?

The squid look great, but they’re not watertight, which is not ideal for containing a solution of bacteria. I looked into some options for sealing the outer surface of the models – this even included visiting a boating specialist supplier.

What are you most inspired by/excited about?

After seeing the photo of the (albeit leaky) glowing squid, I’m particularly motivated to find a way to make it work in this form.

What’s next?

We’ve got a few ideas for getting around the leakiness, so now it’s just a matter of experimenting with these ideas. We also set up the time-lapse video to run again this weekend, so all going well we’ll have a video to show next week.

Siouxsie says:

What happened this week?

This week Rebecca brought round some 3D printed squid prototypes that Danny made for us. She had tried to make them watertight so we could see how well the bacteria looked inside them. Unfortunately, several layers of sealant later and they still leaked. But they still looked amazing when filled!

Filled squid

What did you learn?

That the squid will look amazing if we can get them leak proof.

What are you most inspired by/excited about?

Even though the prototype models are leaky, I can’t help but be excited about how the project is coming together. Rebecca and I had a bit of a brain storm and had plenty of ideas for things to try to resolve the problem. It feels like just a minor set back.

Filling the squid

What’s next?

Rebecca and Danny are going to try sort out the leaky models. All I can do now is wait.

Week 7

Rebecca says:

What happened this week?

We tested the brightness of the bacteria solution through the 3D printed vessels, and it looks great!

What did you learn?

I was amazed that the petri dishes that I painted up last week were still glowing this weekend. For the moment, we’re assuming that the bacteria will glow for a day or so. If we find that the culture actually lights up for a longer period of time, perhaps this could save us having to replace it each evening of the event?

What are you most inspired by/excited about?

It’s been satisfying answering some of the key questions that we’ve had since the start of the project – now we know we’re on track to achieve what we’ve got in mind.

photo-15

What’s next?

The next step is to start getting some models made up. It’s probably going to be a bit of trial and error to get the design to look and work how we imagine, but I can’t wait to get started!

Siouxsie says:

What happened this week?

This week Rebecca had some little cups 3D printed for us, so we met at the lab to make sure the glow of the bacteria can be seen through the material. And they can, which didn’t come as a huge surprise given that light can travel through flesh and skin – just trying putting your hand over the top of a torch! I also had another go at the time-lapse photography and finally captured the bacteria starting to glow.

Vessel glow

What did you learn?

That the little 3D printed cups weren’t leak proof!

What are you most inspired by/excited about?

It really feels like we are making progress! I can’t wait to see how the 3D printed models come out.

What’s next?

Finalising the vessels to show the glowing bacteria off in.

Week 6

Rebecca says:

What happened this week?

This week I had some simple models made up using a 3D printer, so that we can check the luminosity of the bacterial solution through the printed material. Thank you to Danny at Vivenda 3D printing for whipping these up so quickly!

I also experimented with some other petri dish painting techniques and designs, which produced some interesting results. Here’s one of the designs with the lights on:

Petri dish design

What did you learn?

The watertightness of 3D printed models can be variable depending on the design and density of the print. We certainly don’t want bacteria leaking out from whatever receptacle we choose, so we’ll need to find some way to overcome this.

What are you most inspired by/excited about?

3D printing is a pretty exciting process to experiment with. You can see results very quickly and the possibilities really are endless.

What’s next?

More models, mark-making, time-lapse photography and experimentation ahead!

Siouxsie says:

What happened this week?

This week I picked up an AC adapter for my camera and tried out the time-lapse photography again. For some reason though the bacteria weren’t growing very brightly, which was a shame so I’m going to have to try that again.

I also tried growing the brightest bacteria from last week (BB1) in a larger volume of media E to see if the 300,000 relative light units measured by our luminometer is enough to see by eye. And it is, yay!

glowing solution

What did you learn?

That my eyes can see 300,000 relative units just fine!

What are you most inspired by/excited about?

I’m so excited that we’ve found good conditions for growing the bacteria so they glow, and that the light is bright enough to see by eye. Now we just have to work on what we are going to be putting the bacteria into.

What’s next?

I’m going to try the time-lapse again, but really we now need to be focusing on what some of receptacle we will be using to contain the bacteria for our piece.

Week 5

Rebecca says:

What happened this week?

This week was a bit quieter on my side, as it was all happening in the lab!

What did you learn?

Unfortunately our original model making plan fell through. I’ll be on the hunt for alternatives this week.

What are you most inspired by/excited about?

Our artist profile is now live on the Art in the Dark website!  We’re up there with a number of other artists doing some very cool looking projects – definitely take a moment to check them out.

What’s next?

Siouxsie is picking up an AC power pack so that we can re-run the time-lapse without having to worry about the battery running out.

We’ll hopefully be able to show you a video by next week!

Siouxsie says:

What happened this week?

This week I’ve been processing all the images taken from the time-lapse photography and turning them into a movie. It was a little disappointing to be honest, as I somehow managed to knock the focus and so for half the movie the pictures were all fuzzy. Very frustrating!

I’ve also analysed the data from the experiment that my postdoc Jimmy set up. We tried growing two different naturally bioluminescent bacteria in eight different growth media. Interestingly they preferred different conditions to grow in and expressed their light a little differently.

Looking at graph A, the brightest signal for Bioluminescent Bacteria 1 (BB1) was after growing in media E and it reached its peak glow after 8 hours. However, in graph B we can see that BB2 prefers media A. When we compare these two in graph C, we can see that BB1 is more than 10x brighter than BB2 and that it reaches its peak faster and stays at its peak for longer.

Graphs

What did you learn?

That making a time-lapse movie is hard work and will take some practise to get right.

What are you most inspired by/excited about?

Now that we’ve found a couple of good conditions for growing the bacteria, I’m keen to try them on a larger scale and see just how bright they will be.

What’s next?

This week I’ll be trying the time-lapse photography again, as well as repeating the growth experiments to see how bright 300,000 relative light units actually is to the human eye!