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A spin off company from the MIT Media Lab has developed a filter that attaches to a car’s exhaust pipe, collects the unburned carbon soot that would otherwise pollute the atmosphere, and turns it into ink. Scientists at Graviky Labs have created ink from pollutants in engine exhaust. (via Kickstarter)


Pollution poses a serious threat to the health of the environment and everyone in it, and in 2014 the United States emitted over 1700 metric tons of carbon dioxide due to transportation alone, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The MIT spin-off company known as Graviky Labs has developed a revolutionary system in AIR-INK that could have wide application and a great benefit to humanity. Their filter, called a Kaalink, is a device that is retrofitted onto the exhaust pipe of a vehicle and can collect pollutants for approximately two weeks of “city driving,” according to Glenn McDonald of Seeker. The Kaalink device can collect 93% of the pollutants that escape through car exhaust, and can create about an ounce of ink in 45 minutes. The collected contents then undergo an undisclosed process that removes the heavy metals and carcinogens ultimately yielding a “purified carbon-rich pigment,” according to the AIR-INK Kickstarter page.


All of this seems very cool and even helpful in the increasing effort to save the planet from climate change and global pollution, but capturing car exhaust might not be enough to save the Earth. That’s why the people at Graviky Labs are ultimately trying to expand this concept to fit industrial, commercial and residential sites. Their technology could open the door to finally reducing our species’ carbon footprint in a very significant way, and also produces ink that can ironically be used to create something beautiful; instead of destroying something beautiful.


Currently, AIR-INK has markers available in 4 sizes: 2mm, 15mm, 30mm and 50mm markers; and a 150ml screen printing ink set is also available. The Kickstarter page claims that if the campaign is a success that eventually the company will be able to sell a much wider variety of inks and paints, but it is not mentioned on their page, yet could be, that if their campaign is a success they could be single-handedly putting a huge dent in the crisis that is global pollution.


Unfortunately, though, this could have some negative implications as well, in that if pollution can be captured before it is released into the atmosphere, the incentive to transition to renewable energy sources lessens. On the surface, this might seem like a non-issue given that this invention will give the world more time to make the transition, but non-renewable sources of energy are a detriment to the planet’s health in more ways than just pollution (i.e. oil spills, oil drilling and fracking leading to earthquakes, etc.). Regardless, we must take this victory for humanity and run with it, because Graviky Labs has given the world hope with this innovation at a time when the policies and measures in place make the future for the planet’s health look particularly gloomy.


Watch the video by Graviky Labs and Tiger Beer below:


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