To combat growing levels of air pollution worldwide, a technology and design team is converting airborne pollutants into consumer safe inks and paints. Air Ink by Graviky Labs, an India-based research company, is a line of products that includes pens, spray paint, and oil-based paints. The pigments contained in each were once toxic, arriving straight from the exhaust pipes of cars, but the researchers say the artistic tools are now completely safe for use.
Instrumental to the conversion is Graviky Lab’s own contraption, Kaalink, a device that, once placed on exhaust pipes, captures pollutants without comprising a vehicle’s performance. The soot then goes through a number of processes that remove carcinogens to yield purified, carbon-based pigments, which then undergo another chemical process to create the final inks and paints.
“The soot is blended with oils to create oil-based paint, the spray paint is packaged with compressed gas and canned — to a user, the end results are materials that function much like any other paint they use,” Graviky Labs co-founder Anirudh Sharma told CNN, adding that he may one day figure out how to use purified carbon soot to create sculptures.
The researchers estimate that every 45 minutes worth of car emissions captured by their device produces some 30 milliliters of ink — enough to fill one pen. Besides cars and trucks, Kaalink can even fit over the polluting mouths of boats, chimneys, and cranes.