Anirudh Sharma was working with his team at the MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces when they finally found a way to infuse air pollution in an eco-friendly tool. A member of this team, Kunal, says that being a native of India he witnessed how many people use soot in their early lives as their grandmas or grannies rub their eyes with Kajal in order to save them from evil spirits. Similarly, pollution exhaled from vehicles in highly overpopulated areas and burning of fuel can lead to higher fume count that can be inhaled for a lifetime. The team working here, thus, decided to make something useful and good out of this evil called air pollution.
In year 2013, a machine was developed finally that could turn soot into printer ink, it was known as Kaala printer. This printer was made around an HP C6602 inkjet cartridge and could be controlled with an Arduino board. This resulted into a 96dpi print system. The commercial printer ink makes use of smaller sized particles and once they opened the holes present in printer cartridges numerous tests were done on these successfully. After running this project in their own company, Graviky, Anirudh estimated that till date they have cleared approx. 1.6 trillions of air by converting it into ink. Now, the team is running a kickstarter campaign named AIR-INK which is one of the first inks carved from air pollution.
The process begins with collection. The KAALINK equipment is a cylinder that has been placed over exhaust pipes and cylinders of generators for capturing pollutants. Then this collected mixtures is processed for removal of any heavy elements, carcinogens, dust particles, leaving behind a pigment that only has carbon content in it. This carbon is then taken as base material and what follows is a simple commercial ink making process leading to formation of screen printing ink and markers from pollutants
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