How this scientist converted air pollution into printing ink

By growing up in India, Anirudh Sharma knows just how bad air pollution is for the environment and that is why he invented the Kaala-Printer contraption. It is basically a printer that uses ink made from air pollution. Anirudh Sharma is a graduate of the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he worked on Augmented Reality/2D/3D using transparent OLED displays.

Ink-love for air pollution printer

[Image Couresy of Anirudh Sharma]

Anirudh Sharma calls himself a “chronic inventor” and the Kaala-Printer contraption is one of his many inventions. Prior to inventing this unique printer, he used to be fascinated by smoke and considering the fact that India suffered from air pollution, he was motivated to do something about it. That’s when the idea came to him that he might perhaps convert the pollution in the air to something we use everyday, like ink.

And this was exactly what he did. The interesting thing about this ink is that it can be made from everyday items. These items are alcohol, oil substrate and soot which are mixed in constant proportions to make the final version of the ink.  In order to assemble the printer, an HP C6602 cartridge was connected to an Arduino via a Nicolas’ Ink Shield which basically turned the cartridge into a 96 dpi (dots per inch) printing platform.

components of air pollution printer

[Image Couresy of Anirudh Sharma]

It is important to note that although reasonably good ink was produced using this process, the size of the ink particles is larger than the fine industrial ink produced by companies such as HP and Canon. To accommodate the nature of the ink, the size of the cartridge holes were increased.

Anirudh Sharma has this vision that perhaps some day, we could all attach a Kaala-Printer contraption near the exhaust of our cars and after we’re done driving and we would have made ourselves some free ink. Will that ever happen?

Source: Anirudh Sharma