Living Ink Lets You Create Time-Lapse Drawings

December 9, 2015 | Elizabeth Knowles

A hand-drawn postcard with black and green Living Ink in a transparent "greenhouse" frame.
Photo credit: Screen capture from video by Living Ink Technologies

Create art that evolves over a period of days.

Have you ever wanted to create an extra special drawing for that special someone? Are postcards and thank you notes just not good enough? With Living Ink, you can create a drawing or painting that will evolve over time.

Here’s how it works: You start by creating your picture in a regular manner using either a special pen or paintbrush. After a few minutes, your artwork will disappear. But the thing is, it isn’t really gone. If you place it in a special “greenhouse” frame, the ink will slowly reappear within a few days.

SEE ALSO: Disney Transforms Coloring Books into a 3D-Experience

The pen set comes with two different types of ink: slow and fast. The fast ink is pink and reappears in 1–2 days while the slow ink is blue but takes 3–4 days to reappear. Both don’t regain their original colour, but instead turn green.

This magical effect relies on a greenhouse frame that contains clear moisture and a nutrient dense material called agar. Once the picture has fully appeared, it can be removed from the frame.

Scott Fulbright and Steve Albers, the creators of Living Ink, call themselves the “true mad scientists of the algae world.” The living ink contains cyanobacteria and algae that, once exposed to sunlight, reproduce at an exponential rate in a process called binary fission. Green chlorophyll produced by the algae becomes visible and stains the paper.

Find out more by watching the video below:

Looking for a neat gift for someone who is both scientifically and artistically inclined? The comments on their Kickstarter page make Living Ink sound perfect: “It doesn't get any cooler: part art project, part science project," "It's like a real life GIF!" and "I get to draw with plants! It's like having a superpower." Just don’t count on getting it by Christmas. Even if all goes well, Kickstarter rewards won’t start shipping until March 2016.

Check out this other Kickstarter campaign: This Futuristic “Garden” Turns Your Kitchen into a Mini-Ecosystem

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