About this project
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While at the MIT Media Lab, we asked ourselves a simple question. How can we turn something as ugly as air pollution into something as useful as ink?
That’s how we came up with AIR-INK.
Through this Kickstarter, we 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 made out of air pollution particulate matter––namely the unburned carbon soot you see coming out of the exhaust pipe of cars, chimneys, generators, and more.
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.
The end result
We have created several grades of AIR-INK with different applications: 2mm round tip and 15mm, 30mm and 50mm chisel tip markers, and screen printing ink.
How can I use AIR-INK?
AIR-INK is currently available as 2mm, 15mm, 30mm and 50mm markers, and a 150ml screen printing ink set. If this campaign is a success, we will be able to work towards releasing oil based paints, fabric paints, outdoor paints, and more.
We are proud to offer the following rewards. If you'd like to add any additional items to your pledge (extra t-shirt, markers, post cards, etc.), just send us a message and we will do our best to accommodate!
The prices in the graphic below are in US Dollars (USD). They may differ slightly from the rewards prices on your right, which are converted from Singapore dollars (SGD).
Where the money is going
AIR-INK follows industrial grade guidelines, and artists have been using AIR-INK for the past 6 months without issues. Now, we are turning to Kickstarter to refine our KAALINK device and help scale up production.
With every donation, you are giving back to the environment. In fact, you can negate 45 minutes worth of car pollution by using 30ml of AIR-INK.
Even if just 15 percent of the world’s black ink supply is replaced with AIR-INK, we could end up cutting a lot of air pollution.
In July 2016, we collaborated with Tiger Beer and released a video about AIR-INK. The video was a huge success and was picked up by news outlets around the world. Artists from all over began asking how they could get their hands on the ink. Here are some of the kind words they shared.
"We're at a time where we need art not just for beauty. We need it for social and political purposes. We need it to create environmental awareness because pollution is at an all time high. AIR-INK will help a lot of people."
"I wrote with ink made from 3 hours worth of pollution from Bangalore, India. It gave my art more purpose. This is how inks should be made"
"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. We wanted to run a handheld printer that prints from candle soot, and demonstrated the rough prototype at several conferences. We quickly learned that environmentalists and artists loved it.
Later in 2014, we kicked off technological iterations in two Indian cities that are greatly affected by pollution––Delhi and Bangalore. We ideated further, prototyped, and saw that it could make a real world impact.
Moving beyond the prototypes, we started to "harvest" air pollution from engines and other sources. After treating that harvested air pollution, we turned it into inks.
Then in July 2016 is when we collaborated with Tiger Beer. Check out the video highlighting the experience below.
People from all over constantly ask us how they can get their hands on AIR-INK and use it in their everyday lives. But at this time our pollution capture process is very labor intensive and can only happen at a very small scale. This campaign will allow us scale up and bring AIR-INK to as many of you as possible.
On top of that, Kickstarter presents us with an incredible opportunity to form a creative community of human beings who hope to make the world a little more sustainable and beautiful. The Kickstarter community is already filled with these types of people, and we could not think of anywhere better to bring AIR-INK to life.
We could not be more excited to give you the power to reduce your carbon-footprint and ultimately save lives while you create the things you love.
Anirudh Sharma, Co-founder, Innovation Lead: Anirudh is a graduate from the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT Media Lab, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Anirudh has the knack of coming up with innovations in the area of wearable computing, accessibility and has taken various such concepts/innovations from proof of concept to product and deployment stage. Anirudh developed the initial idea and developed first prototype for making inks out of pollution and at present leads the innovation and engineering of pollution capture at Graviky Labs.
Nikhil Kaushik, Co-founder, Business Lead: Nikhil leads the business and strategic development at Graviky Labs. He handles the overall business relations, supply chain and operations.
Nisheeth Singh, Technical Development Lead: Nisheeth leads technical development on our pollution capture technologies. Experienced with cross-domain prototyping and rapid evaluation, he integrates different technical inputs from team members, our advisors and other stakeholders to develop Kaalink.
Nitesh Kadyan, Co-founder, Electronics and AI lead: Nitesh holds a degree in CS from IIIT, Bangalore and did his Masters thesis at Freie University. He has worked on self driving vehicles and as a masters thesis he has built a model self driving car.
Suranga Nayannkara: Suranga is an Assistant Professor from the Engineering Product Development Pillar at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). In 2011, he founded the Augmented Human Lab (www.ahlab.org) to explore ways of creating ‘enabling’ human-computer interfaces as natural extensions of our body, mind and behaviour. Suranga seeks a sense of ‘humanity’ in technology. For the totality and breadth of achievements, he has won many awards including young inventor under 35 (TR35 award) in the Asia Pacific region by MIT TechReview, Outstanding Young Persons of Sri Lanka (TOYP), and INK Fellowship 2016.
Austin Lee: Austin is an Assistant Professor in the Carnegie Mellon School of Design. A former Research Assistant in the Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab, he has explored system design for spatial drawing and 3D collaboration. As a designer, he has advised and supported UX and visual design for NASA JPL, Fortune 500 companies and startups. His professional work at Microsoft include interaction design for Skype's HoloLens companion experience and communication design in AR systems. He was the lead coordinator representing Korea for the London Design Biennale 2016 and has shown design work at London’s Somerset House, Red Dot awards and the Exploratorium.
Nell Watson: Nell Watson is an engineer, entrepreneur, and futurist thinker who grew up in Northern Ireland. She has a longstanding interest in the philosophy of technology, and how extensions of human capacity drive emerging social trends. Nell serves as Associate Faculty at Singularity University. Her ability to bridge the world of technology and the Humanities makes it easy for her to translate complex subjects so that they can be clearly understood. In 2010 Nell founded Poikos, a machine learning-driven AI for for body measurement. Nell serves as Senior Advisor to The Future Society at Harvard, as well as serving as an advisory technologist to several startups, accelerators, and venture capital funds. She is also Co-Founder of OpenEth, an ethical explication engine that aims to crowdsource ethical heuristics for autonomous systems.
Risks and challenges
We 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! We will always be sure to update you if anything that could cause shipping delays arises.
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