Air pollution to air ink- the journey is worth knowing

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“Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value.” Said by Buckminster Fuller, is now being implemented by Anirudh Sharma and doing miracles.

Ink made from air pollution?

This is quite surprising and many of you won’t trust it. Believe it or not- Anirudh Sharma from Bengaluru has made it possible. He turned dust into art with a simple technique of using black carbon released mostly by diesel consumption what we might know as soot and transforming it into ink. Graviky Labs is transforming the microscopic particulate matter known as PM2.5 in machinery exhaust resulting from burning of fossil fuels. All these matter releasing from cars, trucks, factories and other can now be used into drawing art rather than inhaling them. The main goal is to bind these carbons and making it into high grade ink and this ink can be further used for several other purposes- this is a simple procedure known as recycling. Yes! This is actually a cool innovation that is recycling the environment’s biggest threat- Air pollution. When around seven million people die each year from breathing polluted air, these young men are turning the tables upside down.

AIR-INK inventor, Anirudh Sharma did his graduation from MIT Media Labs in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He first conceived the idea of Air-Ink when he saw his friend’s shirt stained by air pollution. He thought that of this unique concept- why don’t recycle this harmful air into something useful. A 2013 experiment with candle soot and an improvised printer cartridge led to a lab setup in India in 2015. The trial of attaching equipment’s in cars for capturing emitted carbon led to the introduction of KAALINK, a small device that can be retrofitted to exhaust pipes. This electrical and mechanical device can capture 95 percent of PM2.5 in the exhaust without adverse effect on engine performance. Anirudh and his colleagues have successfully captured and recycled 1.6 billion micro grams of particulate matter.  At first they use to work for 19 hours a day and wouldn’t see results for the next five days. But in the end their hard work paid off.   

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Anirudh was recognized for his innovations by MIT and BBC where he was awarded the ‘Innovator of the Year’ award and his product found place in the ‘Top 5 Indian Innovations’. He was also featured in the ‘Forbes 30 under 30’ 2016 list for innovation. The company Graviky is financially stable and had raised enough fund in the first year only. They have been collaborating with several artists throughout the world to use the by product and spread the word. Even the artist is curious and just like that seven artists from Hong-Kong used the pollution to paint the walls of the streets with a tagline- “from the streets, for the streets”.  Apart from Bengaluru and Delhi, Graviky has a presence in New York, London, Berlin, Chicago, Sydney, Singapore, and Amsterdam and is now aiming to spread its wings further. Anirudh Sharma is also the inventor of Lechal, a shoe designed for the visually impaired people that uses a smartphone app to help them guide using vibrations in the shoes.

This startup is actually challenging our mentality that pollution is government’s job to control. We hear news on rising pollution, buy a mask from the market and then complaint about it but wouldn’t do a thing our self to change the condition. We will march, protest and then go by smoking, burning plastics and what not. If an effort from an individual can make such a difference then think- if the effort is limitless, how much impact can it create?           

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