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Living Ink Technologies via Kickstarter

Art Made With This Algae Pen Becomes Visible After Sun Exposure

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Living Ink Technologies via Kickstarter

You’ve heard of disappearing ink, but this pen does the opposite—by creating illustrations with living ink, they only become visible after spending a few days in the sun.

The secret behind this tricky art tool is the special ink made from living algae and cyanobacteria. When artists first put the pen to paper, the living ink isn’t visible to the naked eye. It’s only after prolonged exposure to sunlight that the algae and bacteria start to rapidly multiply to the point where the green chlorophyll becomes abundant enough to see.

The pen also includes regular disappearing ink to help guide artists through their initial sketches. Users can draw with the pink “fast ink” pen in tandem with the blue “slow ink” pen to create different components that reveal themselves at different times. The illustrations grow in a miniature greenhouse, which is actually a glass frame filled with a nutrient-rich material called agar. The fast sketches become visible in one-to-two days, while the slow ink appears after about a week.

Even once the algae and cyanobacteria have died, the stain left by the chlorophyll remains vibrant for years to follow. And while the pens aren’t available for commercial purchase just yet, anyone can pledge to the Kickstarter campaign and reserve a Living Ink set of their own. The pen package is $30, and the special “artist edition" package includes paintable inks and paintbrushes for a pledge of $60 or more. If the campaign reaches their funding goal of $15,000 before January 13, rewards can be expected to ship by June of next year.

[h/t: Gizmodo]

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Courtesy Chronicle Books
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Design
Inside This Pop-Up Book Are a Planetarium, a Speaker, a Decoder Ring, and More
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Courtesy Chronicle Books

Designer Kelli Anderson's new book is for more than just reading. This Book Is a Planetarium is really a collection of paper gadgets. With each thick, card stock page you turn, another surprise pops out.

"This book concisely explains—and actively demonstrates with six functional pop-up paper contraptions—the science at play in our everyday world," the book's back cover explains. It turns out, there's a whole lot you can do with a few pieces of paper and a little bit of imagination.

A book is open to reveal a spiralgraph inside.
Courtesy Chronicle Books

There's the eponymous planetarium, a paper dome that you can use with your cell phone's flashlight to project constellations onto the ceiling. There's a conical speaker, which you can use to amplify a smaller music player. There's a spiralgraph you can use to make geometric designs. There's a basic cipher you can use to encode and decode secret messages, and on its reverse side, a calendar. There's a stringed musical instrument you can play on. All are miniature, functional machines that can expand your perceptions of what a simple piece of paper can become.

The cover of This Book Is a Planetarium
Courtesy Chronicle Books
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Noriyuki Saitoh
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Art
Japanese Artist Crafts Intricate Insects Using Bamboo
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Noriyuki Saitoh

Not everyone finds insects beautiful. Some people think of them as scary, disturbing, or downright disgusting. But when Japanese artist Noriyuki Saitoh looks at a discarded cicada shell or a feeding praying mantis, he sees inspiration for his next creation.

Saitoh’s sculptures, spotted over at Colossal, are crafted by hand from bamboo. He uses the natural material to make some incredibly lifelike pieces. In one example, three wasps perch on a piece of honeycomb. In another, two mating dragonflies create a heart shape with their abdomens.

The figures he creates aren’t meant to be exact replicas of real insects. Rather, Saitoh starts his process with a list of dimensions and allows room for creativity when fine-tuning the appearances. The sense of movement and level of detail he puts into each sculpture is what makes them look so convincing.

You can browse the artist’s work on his website or follow him on social media for more stunning samples from his portfolio.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

[h/t Colossal]

All images courtesy of Noriyuki Saitoh.

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