Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Supercharge your iPhone photos and air pollution ink

At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns on the web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there — alongside some real gems. In this column, we cut through all the worthless wearables and Oculus Rift ripoffs to round up the week’s most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects. But don’t grab your wallet just yet. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project can fail — even the most well-intentioned. Do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Let’s be honest: Unless you’re the heir to the Bic fortune, there is nothing overly exciting about the way ink is made —  unless, of course, you ask the folks behind Graviky Labs. This group of creatives found a way to recycle air pollution (which causes more than 7.2 million deaths each year) and transform it into something you can write with. The single fluid ounce of ink needed to fill a pen can be gathered from 45 minutes of car emissions. This comes courtesy of Graviky’s proprietary collection process, which was developed while the founders were studying at MIT.

The team created five different grades of Air-Ink for the project, all of which can be used for everything from fabric and outdoor painting to screen printing, and even oil painting.  It functions as both a neat science exercise and a provocative statement on pollution. As co-founder Anirudh Sharma notes in the campaign, “Each stroke made with Air-Ink arrests particulate matter, which would have otherwise ended up in the lungs of common people. Scaling this is saving lives.”

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