Scientists Transform Polluted Air Into Ink For Artists

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May. 26 2019, Updated 5:02 p.m. ET

A group of Indian scientists have created an incredible way to convert carbon emissions into artwork. Called Air-Ink, this new technology takes out some of the harmful chemicals from our environment and turns them into ink and paint products for artists. After a successful Kickstarter campaign and winning the street artists over, they’re hoping to continue growing the brand.

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Anirudh Sharma is one of the founders of Graviky Labs, the company who created Air-Ink, and the person who originally had the idea back in 2013. On his return to India while on break from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he realized how dirty the air was back home in comparison.

“It was a very simple observation — I feel like anybody can see it," Sharma told Upworthy. "Your clothes get dirtier much faster, you can see this pigmentation happening [on] buildings, to your clothes, to everywhere around you."

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Knowing that carbon emissions were only going to get worse over the years, he and a team of scientists decided to figure out a solution. The initial development was Kaalink, a metal cylinder that’s able to be attached to exhaust pipes and chimneys. Even better? The device is able to capture these emissions before it even goes into the air.

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This became the first step in the Air-Ink creation process. They were able to create one fluid ounce of ink after just 45 minutes of vehicle emissions. Captured carbon would later be purified, removing all the nasty metals and carcinogens from the exhaust. At the end, they would use the carbon to create various safe ink and paint products.

To show off this new ink, Graviky Labs partnered with Tiger Beer to launch a pilot project of their new product. Throughout the streets of Hong Kong, murals were designed by popular local artists using Air-Ink. As the paintings gained popularity, other painting events were held in New York and London.

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“It seemed pretty obvious that the best people to popularise this technology would be those from the art world,” Nikhil Kaushik, another co-founder of the company, told Scroll.in. “The artists have been the first ones to take Air-Ink out to the world by creating something that connects with the masses.”

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Graviky Labs launched a Kickstarter campaign back in February. They sold various editions of Air-Ink: as 2, 15, 30, and 50 millimeter markers, and also a 150 milliliter (slightly over five fluid ounces) screen printing ink set. Their campaign was a wild success, shooting well past their goal of 14,000 Singapore dollars and raising S$ 41,076 (around $30,300 US).

There’s a number of great projects that are removing air pollution, like the carbon capture machine that can boost plant growth and beverage creation. The Air-Ink lineup joins the list of helpful, unique inventions that can aid in bringing down harmful chemicals in our environment.

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