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A Japanese Startup Created a Pen Whose Ink Conducts Electricity

Perhaps more than any other society in the world has Japanese culture mastered the art of functional elegance. Take this LEGO castle that opens like a pop-up book, for instance. Or this building that didn’t have to use anything as coarse and barbaric as the common nail. Or just about all of the animation that comes out of Japan’s storied studios (I’m looking at you Ghibli). Now, a Tokyo-based startup called AgIC has created a pen whose silver ink can conduct electricity and it’s pretty much the most functional and elegant thing we’ve ever seen.

To advertise the new product, Japanese infrastructure company Kandenko created the most therapeutic video (see above). A hand can be seen drawing on paper, connecting circuits that turn on lights when the circuits’ gaps are bridged. The shapes that our floating hand outlines are then popped up, creating various paper buildings that eventually become a softly lit cityscape. Rocket News 24 reports that the video, which is titled “Future with Bright Lights,” was inspired by children’s pop-up books.

What are the implications of this new pen? First, it’s an entirely new creative outlet, where simply drawing lines can connect electronic devices. Artists that aren’t mechanically inclined can now integrate a new medium into their worksimagine a painting whose shadows are cast by actual lights, or a Rube Goldberg machine that can be triggered on the fly by drawing lines. The possibilities are endless.

Plus the pen is only about $12! Check it out, and if you need me, I’ll be living at that softly lit city.

Any initial ideas for how this pen could be used? Let us know in the comments.

Image: Kandenko

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