Out of thin Air


Following my current blogging, sustainability kick this week, I’m featuring a company called Graviky Labs. Based in Bangalore, India, this team of scientists and industrial designers are creating ink out of air pollution particles.

Yes, you read that correctly. Let me say it again: making ink…out of pollution.

How fascinating, right? I’m not a chemist by any means, so I’m not sure how they actually make it work. But let me break it down for the lay people out there. They produced a can that fits over a car exhaust, which then filters the smoke, creating particles of ash, which are then combined with different solvents to make liquid ink. This ink can then be used by anyone – artists have obviously taken an interest, since it’s such a uniquely creative idea.

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Of all the sectors of pollution, the discussion around air pollution is often dismissed. As physically visible problems – trash in the ocean, dumping of chemicals in undesignated areas, burning of chemicals unlawfully, etc – often trump the unseen, the air we breathe is very nearly forgotten about. But air pollution has been a large contributor to detrimental health problems over the past decade, specifically in Asia.

What really fascinates me is the language they use to describe the pollution, and eventual ink. Their range of markers currently includes a 0.7 mm and 2 mm round tip, a 15 mm chisel tip, and a 50 mm wide tip. Under each marker description they have specifications on the average time it takes to make the ink. For example, a 2mm round tip marker would take approximately 50 minutes of diesel car pollution to create enough particles for the product. How freaking interesting.

Their website clearly states that the main byproduct of fossil fuel burning, is soot. This soot either ends up in water sources or our lungs. They are trying to directly combat the eventual destination by designing a product that takes those particles, and makes something useful and utterly mesmerizing of them. Sure, the ink looks just like any other ink. But when you see someone describe “oh, I illustrated this poster with 100 hours worth of pollution,” it makes the gears in your head turn about a million miles a minute.

Check out the comprehensive video of the patent pending technology below. Enjoy!

The Tattoos of the Future

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I’ve always admired, and wanted tattoos. Unfortunately, I find myself to be too spontaneous for such a permanent decision. Being in the art and design world too, my tastes and aesthetics end up changing very frequently. Especially when it comes to typography (which would inevitably be my first type of inking) my favorite font from last month, is now repulsive to me. So, I’ve deliberated for years on tattoos, but can’t seem to figure out what I want to do.

Insert the temporary options. I’ve drawn on myself with pens, sharpie, paint, henna, etc. (much to the chagrin of my father), and it always fills the flippant temptation for an actual tattoo.

MC10, a tech and medical research mogul, created flexible circuit “tattoos” that aid in bio level readings. Though they aren’t main stream yet (they’ve partnered with a couple of companies and schools since the original drop in 2015) I have a feeling this sort of application will be extremely useful (and inevitably fashionable) in the future.

Wearables – especially watches – were the majority of “hit products” at CES this year. But these flexible, tattoo-like patches completely blow those gadgets out of the water (in my humble opinion). I’m not looking to slap these patches everywhere on my body to replace a normal tattoo, especially since these are primarily medical at this point in time, but tech like this is really intriguing for a few reasons.

If these patches had the capability to monitor bodily functions (heart rate amongst the more obvious reasons) and then send that info/data to a user’s app, it would be pretty cool. In a day and age where data collection is becoming more and more popular (and accessible) for the average person, the seamlessness of this technology would be incredible.

There’s been luminescent, projection mapping, and audio-file tattoos. But imagine being able to ink yourself, and have it serve an actual function.