About this project
While researching and developing our sustainable algae ink to replace regular ink, found in everyday printers, something unexpected happened—the ink changed from one day to the next.
Our goal of replacing toxic ink remains the same, but the discovery Living Ink is too fun not to share with the world.
We took our discovery and turned it into a fun little product to share with you, the Kickstarter community.
We are hoping to raise funds to further our research and help save the planet from the damage that producing and using regular ink is causing.
Regular ink has a problem that most people don't know about: It's dirty, dirty stuff.
Most colored pigments found in regular ink are made up of heavy metals like cadmium, copper, chromium, iron, lead, and aluminum.
Carbon black is the most common pigment used in black inks. It's most commonly made from of the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products such as tar; that's right, TAR! It's a product that is labeled as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Ink isn't only made of pigments, a considerable amount of ink is made up of binders, carriers, and solvents. Most carriers are petroleum oil, while most solvents used in inks are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), all of which have detrimental human and environmental impacts.
Develop an ink that is safe and sustainable. Living Ink is produced in cells using sunlight and CO2 from the atmosphere; its only byproducts are oxygen and clean water. This means Living Ink is actually great for the environment. Living Ink is the first step in weaning the world off of regular ink and moving towards a safe and renewable solution.
If you love science too, or want to know even more about the technical details behind Living Ink, shoot us an email. We’re scientists at heart and we love talking shop, anytime.
While researching and developing our sustainable algae ink to replace the regular ink we use everyday something unexpected happened—the ink changed from one day to the next.
As scientists, we began analyzing the “problem.” It didn’t take long for us to realize that this “Living Ink” was really cool.
After sending Grandma Elle a Living Ink birthday card, seeing how much our kids loved drawing their favorite stories, and watching actual artists use it in creative ways, we knew we had to share it with the world.
We are here on Kickstarter because it’s a creative community that supports art and science. Until this point, we’ve been deep in the science (something to the tune of 10 years studying and researching algae). But, our goal has always been to see something useful result from all of that research.
We know that Living Ink will be incredibly useful to all types of people, but we need help to take this from R&D to actual product.
That’s where the Kickstarter community comes in. The majority of funds for this project will go directly to manufacturing the world’s first pen that writes in algae. The remaining pledges will allow us to purchase materials and produce components in bulk, in order to get the cost low enough to get Living Ink into the hands of all you artists, creatives, inventors, DIY'ers, and genuinely interesting people.
If you haven’t figured it out already, our Living Ink is made of Algae. Algae is the planet’s superfood—critical to the existence of thousands of species, the water we drink, and countless other life sustaining functions. It is our priority to ensure that our ink helps protect the environment through responsible business practices, and through educating our customers about the importance of maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
Even before we had ink, humans were sharing their past, explaining their present, and dreaming up their future through stories. The desire to be understood transcends all cultures and eras. It’s our goal to continue to inspire and empower storytellers to excel at their craft.
We believe that science is the most exciting way to improve our lives. We hope that our project will inspire the next generation of scientists to turn research into awesome products that advance society.
Scott and Steve are two scientists who have dedicated the last decade to developing new ways to use algae as ink, to replace the inks we see and use every day. Steve is the mad scientist. For him, if it’s not a well-documented process, then it’s not worth doing. Scott is the Clark Kent of Science. Sometimes he’s just a normal nerdy guy, and then he turns into this scientific super hero of sorts. They teamed up with some of their smartest friends to help them pull off this Kickstarter campaign. Jared and Tyler are the creative force behind this campaign and the products we'll be shipping out. If you spot one of the many small details of awesomeness, it surely was their doing. David brought to the team his proven Kickstarter strategy that he has honed while "monkii'ing" around. He tells our story in a way that has propelled Living Ink as a brand and product to new heights.
Most importantly, it took friends and family to fill in the gaps. Now, we look to the Kickstarter community to join our team and make Living Ink come to life!
Risks and challenges
1. Ink formulation stability.
We have developed the first pen formulation that is capable of growing and we are really excited about this. We also have added other components to the ink so that you can see where you are writing as you make your masterpiece. These added components disappear from the page under an hour, so that your message becomes a mystery to anyone but you. This formulation has been quite a challenge for us to get perfect, and any deviation from this formulation may change the rate at which the ink grows. We’re constantly working on ways to ensure that this isn’t a problem when we ship out the product and this successful Kickstarter will help ensure nothing but the best product leaves our lab.
2 Variability in growth conditions.
While our inks can grow in low light and cool conditions, they’d much rather have bright light and warm temperatures all day long. Here at Living Ink we are dedicated to clearly communicating how much light is required and the right temperature for your ink to grow the way we say it does. Low light conditions and cooler temperatures may cause your ink to grow slower than expected. While we currently use an algae strain that is sensitive to these changing conditions, we are also researching other species of algae that allow for a much wider range of light and temperature conditions.
3. Shipping logistics.
We package living algae cells into the pens that are shipped to your door. These microscopic organisms are very robust, but conditions outside of their comfort level can cause them to die, which doesn’t make for good growing ink. We believe that our scientists have developed formulations that prepare the cells to live in dark conditions for long periods of time, but problems in the shipping process and/or cold weather may cause the ink to improperly function once you start using them. Not to worry, though. We’re on it and believe that when you get your ink, there will be more than enough live algae cells to make your images come to life, no matter how long it takes to get to your door!
4. We're scientists
We've never shipped a product before! We knew we had a lot to learn in this regard, so we teamed up with people who have successfully designed products and fulfilled large Kickstarter campaigns.
Throughout the entire campaign, and if/when any challenges arise, we’re committed to being transparent and communicative to our backers. This means you’ll get regular campaign updates and be involved during the entire fulfillment process.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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