The researchers at Living Ink Technologies weren't spending all of their investors' money trying to figure out how to revolutionize disappearing ink for the 21st century. They were hoping to develop a sustainable algae ink, one that will replace the dirty, toxic ink that currently fills our printer cartridges. But along the way they found the ink they were testing grew and changed from one day to the next. It was visible when applied to paper, but quickly faded, and then completely disappeared. Then--then!--over the next few days the ink re-emerged, gradually revealing the image or message originally drawn. (If you like owls and goofy teen romance, check out Living Ink in action in the video above.) So while still working on an eco-friendly toner alternative, Living Ink Technologies is taking a side trip down Kickstarter Alley with their new take on covert messaging: time-lapse bio-ink.
Living Ink is a product of cells exposed to sunlight and CO2 from the atmosphere. For the disappearing ink version of the product, LIT has developed "fast" and "slow" inks. To create a growing design or message, you'll use a standard pencil to draw what you want to remain visible at all times, follow up with fast ink markers to fill in the portions you want to appear first, about a day later, and then slow ink markers for the final reveals, about 2 days after application. Once complete, you'll insert the paper in the Living Ink Greenhouse, a transparent frame with wood base, deliver it to your intended, and have him or her set it in the sun to activate the time-lapse.
Living Ink kits are available in various sizes to Kickstarter backers through January 12, 2016.