Christmas wish lists aren’t usually the sort of thing this writer pens, but I may make an exception this year for an exciting new writing implement. Living Ink Technologies has created a writing utensil inked with live green algae. And if that isn’t enough to register this thing a permanent slot on the list of ‘coolest gadgets of all time,’ consider this: what you write with this pen isn’t immediately visible because it takes a few days for the algae to grow. Amazing.
Algae-based technologies we’ve seen in the past often revolve around light or energy production, and those projects can be really beautiful as well as practical. The algae pen from Living Ink falls nicely into that category, with an extra boost of “it” factor thanks to the ink’s time-lapse super power. It’s all in the science. Each pen contains cyanobacteria, algae, and chlorophyll – but just a tiny bit, so they are invisible to the naked eye. Once they are applied to paper and thus exposed to sunlight, the magic happens. The algae and bacteria reproduce rapidly and eventually are plentiful enough to fill in the design with a brilliant green hue.
This magic writing tool’s creators did something else pretty cool. In addition to the ‘invisible’ ink, the pen comes with a disappearing ink that is immediately visible for the purposes of creating your desired design and then vanishes over time. They also made two different versions of the pen, each with its own timeline. Designs drawn with the pink pen will grow to the point of visibility within as little as a day, while the blue pen results in images that won’t become apparent for three to four days or even as much as a week. Using both pens to create one design makes it possible to create a mysterious living work of art that evolves over the course of several days before fulfilling its potential.
After just one day of crowdfunding, the company is most of the way toward their $15,000 goal on Kickstarter.
Images via Living Ink Technologies