Ant Farm Revolution - no ants in the pants, but plenty on the ceiling
By Ben Coxworth
September 6, 2011
Ah, the ant farm. It's somehow nice to know that in the age of apps and iPods, kids still like to watch colonies of ants fastidiously going about their daily business. The humble ant farm hasn't remained unchanged by technology, however. For some time now, instead of dirt or sand, commercially-available kits have instead come with a clear green gel. The ants are not only able to tunnel through this goop, but it also serves as their source of food and water. Educational toy company Uncle Milton is now taking the concept a step farther, with its Ant Farm Revolution. It's a cylindrical gel ant farm, with a built-in LED lamp that casts giant silhouettes of its ants on the user's ceiling ... or presumably onto the outside wall of a neighbor's house.
The farm comes pre-filled with gel, which is reportedly made from seaweed extracts, water, amino acids and sugar. The harvester ants must be ordered separately, and are not surprisingly only available within the continental U.S. Would it work just to grab some from outside? Any entomologists in the crowd can weigh in on that one.
Three AAA batteries are required for the lamp, which spotlights any ants that happen to wander across the projecting lens, that lies on top of the gel. It's not unlike a DIY project we wrote about last year, in which the microscopic contents from a drop of water were projected onto a hobbyist's ceiling, via a 250mW green laser pointer.
Ant Farm Revolution can be purchased for US$39.99, from the Uncle Milton website. Vials of ants start at $6.00, for 30 of the wee beasties.