As the story goes, the folks at BioPop were trying to make a sustainable light that relied on something other than man-made batteries. They tried using a bioluminescent plankton called dinoflagellates, but the tiny creatures required too much intervention to be a practical light source. They would, however, make for a really neat desk toy, and so the aptly-named Dino Pet was born.

Instead of inserting batteries or finding an available USB port, to kickstart the Dino Pet's soft blue glow you simply need to make sure the dinoflagellates are properly fed and then given a good shaking. It's unclear if the glow is a sign of enjoyment or terror, but either way it's a neat trick.

The Dino Pet is currently available for pre-order for $60, and is expected to begin shipping in mid-October. As for the food, the Dino Pet comes with enough to keep the plankton alive and glowing for around two to six months, but refills can be bought for $15 when you run out. And if your glowing army dies out completely, or you just want to use your own container, a refill of the dinoflagellates can also be purchased for $50. [BioPop via Inhabitat]