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This hi-tech pen is turning air pollution into art

Written by
Alexandra Sims

It’s tricky for a city like London to clean up its act, but little ideas can lead to big changes. Graviky Labs has finally found a use for London's pollution by turning it into ink

Wait, is this literally a pen made out of pollution? 

Yup. Air-Ink rolls out ribbons of black, velvety pigment made from – wait for it – diesel fumes. 

How the hell is that even possible? 

India-based Graviky Labs, the brains behind the ingenious ink, attach cylinders to vehicles’ exhaust pipes. These trap soot which is converted into ink and acrylic emulsion. 

Is it just a magic trick or does it actually do some good? 

Just one Air-Ink pen contains around 40 minutes’ worth of fumes that would otherwise be filling our lungs. Graviky Labs says it has cleaned up 1.6 trillion litres of air worldwide since 2016. 

That’s a fantastic idea considering how toxic London’s air is.

Yep, the capital breached its annual air pollution limits just five days into 2017. Graviky Labs says that if each of our 22,000 black cabs were fitted with a device, there would be 30 trillion litres of cleaner air each year. 

Where can I witness this sorcery? 

They’ve trialled it in London and now you can see Graviky’s exhibit in the Museum of Writing at King’s College London

Illustrations: Dan Woodger

Find out more at Graviky's website.

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