Using algae from a lake in California, Colorado State University biochemists Steve Albers and Scott Fulbright discovered an algae-based ink that reveals its message of a span of days. The discovery, made while researching the possibility of turning sustainable algae into ink, will allow for novel ways of communication; such as greeting cards, or save-the-date reminders, that reveal their message after a certain amount of time. Write or draw with the Living Ink, and the lines and images will reveal themselves over 1-4 days.
"One of the greatest parts about it is that it truly is a renewable resource," said Albers. We're growing our ink while other people are mining for ink. That's a fun part about the bioprocessing, bioproducts space that we're in; we're using biology to grow a product that people use. We're using carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to grow ink."
Long term the duo hopes to market the ink as a product that would be perhaps 10 times cheaper than traditional, petroleum-based ink. While the ink currently only comes in green, they are close to "pretty close" to red, and are working on black.