At the MIT Media Lab, They invented a device that captures air pollution. They turned this pollution into safe, high-quality ink for art (Air-Ink).
While at the MIT Media Lab, they asked ourselves a simple question. How can they turn something as ugly as air pollution into something as useful as ink?
That’s how they came up with AIR-INK.
Through this Kickstarter, they are offering AIR-INK for the first time––as safe, refillable, high-quality, water resistant markers and screen printing ink. By using 30ml of AIR-INK, you can negate 45 minutes worth of pollution.
What is AIR-INK made of?
AIR-INK is created through a three-step process.
Step 1. While cheaper carbon black inks are manufactured through the deliberate burning of fossil fuels, we use our proprietary device––what we call KAALINK––to capture soot that is already being emitted from vehicles. KAALINK is retrofitted to the exhaust pipe of vehicles/generators to capture the outgoing pollutants.
It takes just 45 minutes worth of vehicular emissions captured by Kaalink to produce 1 fluid ounce of ink––enough to fill one of the pens being offered through this Kickstarter campaign.
Step 2. The soot we collect undergoes various proprietary processes to remove heavy metals and carcinogens. The end product is a purified carbon rich pigment.
Step 3. The carbon is then used to make different types of inks and paints.
“AIR-INK provides an environmentally friendly option for creatives and is high quality. The ink itself is thicker than most and can paint on rough surfaces without bleeding. The color of the ink is solid black which fits perfectly with my usual practice.”
AIR-INK started out as an experiment at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA. they wanted to run a handheld printer that prints from candle soot, and demonstrated the rough prototype at several conferences. They quickly learned that environmentalists and artists loved it.
Later in 2014, They kicked off technological iterations in two Indian cities that are greatly affected by pollution––Delhi and Bangalore. They ideated further, prototyped, and saw that it could make a real world impact.
Moving beyond the prototypes, they started to “harvest” air pollution from engines and other sources. After treating that harvested air pollution, they turned it into inks.
Video highlighting the experience:
Risks and challenges
They have spent the past three years perfecting both our capture and proprietary processes.
That said, there are always risks and unforeseen challenges when increasing the scale of a project! They will always be sure to update you if anything that could cause shipping delays arises.
Read More about Air-Ink
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