Tuesday, April 18, 2017


The world has become much more eco-friendly in the past few decades. However, there are some things that we are only willing to compromise so far on­, such as cars. Air pollution is a huge problem, but how do we fix something that we can’t even really see?

The creators of AIR-INK have come up with a solution that benefits the environment and culture at the same time. AIR-INK is a startup that turns air pollution from cars, trucks, generators, etc. directly into ink that can be used safely for art.

            Step 1: putting the collecting device on the exhaust pipe of a car
            Step 2: process all the bad stuff out
            Step 3: use the ink for art!

The product is not only reducing pollution, but it is also being used as a political campaign to increase awareness about the seriousness of pollution. In just 45 minutes of collection from an exhaust pipe, one whole pen can be filled. This really puts in perspective just how much pollutant is released into the air in a short period of time. In addition to perspective, the startup is creating murals using its own ink, adding to street art and in turn to culture.

This product was created by Graviky Labs, spearheaded by Anirudh Sharma. Sharma is an inventor who studied with MIT and has been recognized for other projects; he has even made Forbes 30 Under 30. Sharma dropped out of college and made a name for himself based on his interactive creations and collaboration. It is clear that Sharma is passionate about bringing forth the best qualities of many disciplines to create something useful.

“That fusion of art, that fusion of expression, and science… when it happens, I think new magic appears” -Sharma

Not only is Sharma inspired by interdisciplinary collaboration, but he is also inspired by the culture he is surrounded by and the problems people face every day.

“In India, there are so many problems around you. Either you crib about them or say let’s solve them, let’s do something about it. There’s a big opportunity here” -Sharma

In the article “Creativity Across Cultures,” Lubart discusses the interaction between culture and creativity. In some cases, the culture can be a “channel for creativity” because some domains are especially prominent; in others it can stifle creativity. For Sharma, it seems like his environment has provided him with a channel to not only solve a problem but create something beautiful out of it. And who knows, maybe this idea can be expanded onto larger scale things such as factories, or maybe be a mandatory feature on a car?

Culture and product definitely have a two-way interaction, and with political figures pretending climate change doesn’t exist, hopefully AIR-INK will act as a wake-up call and inspiration that solutions do exist to our continuing environmental issues.


  1. This is an exceptionally cool product. For this idea in particular it seems like Sharma's focus was in solving a problem rather than shooting for novelty, yet both are definitely achieved. Is that the case for most of his work? Aside from the practical aspect of AIR-INK, the education and awareness it garners, regarding the issue of pollution, seems like its true purpose.

  2. At first thought, I absolutely love this concept because it addresses an issue that I think is not emphasized enough. However, a few things come to mind. How much does the contraption that you attach to the exhaust pipe cost? And second, how does collection work? Once you have the contraption on the car, how long can it collect pollutant and where would you have to go to “dump” the contents so that they can be turned into a pen, for example? I think the concept is extremely creative, but I’m really curious as to how the full execution will look. If there was a way to then use this ink in personal printers, that would be extremely useful because buying ink can get very expensive. I also like that in the video you embedded, the creator (presumably) said, “but when you connect ideas with passion and creativity, amazing things are possible”.

  3. This is a wonderful way to merge art and environmentalism. I think this a innovative way to draw attention to a problem facing our planet, and has the potential to garner more attention than a traditional anmi-polluation initiative. I like that you saw the connection with his creativity and his culture so to speak. Growing up surrounded by pollution was probably a huge factor in his creativity and eventual creation of the product. Is this device clipped on to the consumer's car or volunteers? I know the exhaust pollution must then be processed, so it doesn't seem like the most user friendly process. If it is being put on "company" cars so to speak, that also raises questions about how environmentally friendly running a car to collect exhaust is. I hope they better explain this when the product is more common. My only other concern would be if these inks are toxic or otherwise harmful since they are literally composed of toxic pollutants?


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