Created by Living Ink Technologies, this is the world’s first algae-derived ink that it is 100% plant-based, renewable, and biodegradable. The process uses the entire algae cell as a pigment and is composed of 90% algae and 10% other plant-based components. The ink is manufactured by first growing the algae in a lab, then harvesting the cells into a paste, and transforming them into ink.

The algae-derived ink can be applied either manually or via screen-printing. It currently comes in various shades of green, brown and the first living carbon black. The black ink can be used on packaging, cosmetics, plastics, and rubbers to replace today’s unsustainable and harmful petroleum-derived inks.

An added benefit is the time-lapse feature which allows users to write, sketch, draw or paint a story and watch it come to life over time. In this version, the ink comes in a ‘fast’ pen and a ‘slow’ pen, which have different concentrations of algae cells that each take different lengths of time to grow and appear in different colors.

The pH-controlled colors quickly disappear once the printed paper is placed into a special ‘greenhouse’ holder – a transparent case that contains necessary nutrients and moisture for the algae to grow. When placed under light the algae grow to reveal the art or message over a 2-3 day period. It can be used to create unique art pieces, greeting cards, or surprises that come to life over time.

Discover more innovative material solutions on the Material ConneXion Database here.

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