Dino Pet: A Living Bioluminescent Pet
Most of today’s modern toys are powered by batteries. Electric power allows the toys to make sounds and light up to amuse and teach children about something. There are various forms such as cars, robots, doll houses, kitchen sets, animals, and more. Some children even prefer playing with virtual toys on touchscreen devices instead of the more conventional role-playing games with physical toys. Dino Pet is unlike any other toys you have come across before. It is a combination of regular dinosaurs-shaped plastic with real living animals.At a glance, Dino Pet looks fairly ordinary with nothing that makes it stand out from the crowd apart from its translucent material. Take a look closer and you will realize that inside the small dinosaur’s body, there are actually living pets with the ability to move around and reproduce as long as you keep them well-fed and in supportive environment. These organisms are called dinoflagellates, photosynthetic marine animals that produce their own food using energy from sunlight. Many forms of dinoflagellates have been identified and classified; the largest is only 2 mm in diameter. The species put inside Dino Pet can generate lights through bioluminescence; this is the same process that makes fireflies glow.
Dino Pet is a small toy that measures approximately at 6-inch H x 3-inch W x 6-inch D, but it contains probably hundreds of thousands of tiny living creatures. These organisms produce light by a gentle stimulation (shaking). To keep the animals alive, you must feed them with specially formulated food manufactured by BioPop, the same company that makes Dino Pet. You can also refill the toy with fresh dinoflagellates. Food and refill are sold separately.
- Pros: cool toy to introduce science concept to children. It only requires simple care procedures to keep the animals alive for extended time. The outer shell of Dino Pet is made of clear ABS plastic, so it should be durable too.
- Cons: younger children may not find the toy attractive enough as they cannot actually play with it except for occasional gentle shaking.
On the underside of Dino Pet belly, there is a cap that you can open to access small creatures inside it. This is also the opening through which you pour the food regularly every 7 – 10 days. In reality, dinoflagellates can live for up to 3 months on nothing but adequate lighting. It is therefore essential to put Dino Pet at well-lit room to extend the life of the animals inside it. Because dinoflagellates also reproduce, there will be more of them over time so the toy will produce brighter light as well.