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Sampling sea and riverbeds around Fukushima Nuclear Power plant

We have put together a valuable set of sediment samples from riverbeds, estuaries and seabed nearshore in the Tohoku region of Japan, mostly in the vicinity of the Fuksuhima Daiichi Nuclear power plant. Half of the samples have been taken before the Typhoon VongFong, the other half during the Typhoon VongFong (Oct 13th 2014 over Tohoku region).  The goal is to understand the motion of sediments from land to sea using radioactive tracers, in other words “make a map of seabed radioactivity around the Fukushima Power Plant“. Here a rough analog simulation – and here an excellent scientific paper explaining how radioactivity “travels” seasonally that we try to extend – connecting land / river to sea data. We do not have the results / measurements of Cesium of our samples yet, hopefully before the end of 2014.

Video by Philippe Couture

The instrument we use is a “Micro Rolling Trawler” that we developed that captures only a few millimeters of surface (recent) sediments. That allows us to have a “snapshot” of the seabed surface.

Sampling river and sea bed sediment with radioactive tracers from Fukushima Mapping Radioactivity in riverbeds and seabeds around Fukushima power plant Crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant 20141009 Sediments Samples
Photos by Julie Nagai

All the data we collect is publicly available for free. We will study mostly Cesium. If you are interested in these samples to analyse other isotopes, we would be very happy to share with you free of charge as long as you share publicly the data / results. Please get in touch :

Many thanks to Julie Nagai, Philippe Couture, Jun Kamei, Shinya & Angela Saeki, Dr Olivier Evrard, Kenichi Kawamura, Prof Hiroshi Kainuma, Umilabo, Soness Stevens, Rohini Karen Deblaise, Dean Newcombe, Safecast Joe Moross, Prof Yoshida of Tohoku University, Christina Moorehead, Jay Klaphake, Kaori Hilton, Maria Ichizawa, Takuro Mizuta, Hiroshi Nomura, Katagiri Family, Zhiruo Gao, Yoshiko Toyama, Toby Marshall and all those who supported our efforts. You can see where we drove with Safecast bGeigieNano (Oct 7, Oct 8, Oct 13, Oct 14)  or as one big map.

More soon…

Protei at ARS Electronica Alhóndiga Bilbao

It’s our great honour for Protei to participate the exhibition “Artists As Catalysts” was curated by Ars Electronica Linz GmbH in partnership with Alhondíga in Bilbao/Spain. Find all pieces and artists on
Artists As Catalysts - Alhondíga, Bilbao, 2013

Teaser on the EXPORT-site:
Alhóndiga Bilbao:

Nature has no rules

I was daydreaming the other day and I was fascinated how we, as human, try to make sense of it all.
Over time we’ve constantly attempted to understand the underlying mechanisms of the universe, trying to decipher what is true at every scale, from gravity to relativity, quantic, experimental physics…  I had this short sentence flying around in my mind, and I could not find it anywhere on the internet. So it would be a big surprise, but I might have come up with this simple axiom a while ago (2008 is the first time I posted this on facebook as my favorite quote) :

Nature has no rule


What I love about this axiom, is that it temporarily brings peace between science and faith. Because nature can neither be god nor be explained by science. It fundamentally denies science or philosophy the capacity to comprehend nature even through it’s most elaborate  chaos theory, versions of the infinite, leaves skepticism nothing to grip. It talks about something that is beyond  understanding, that is not sacred nor knowable. It is the infuriating declaration of peace, the eternal victory of nature on humans. We are not the system, there was no system before us and won’t be any system after us. This may contribute to a more complete definition of what nature is, that is neither a finite object nor describable context. We’ll never fully understand “it”.

It is 4:07AM, I’m in the middle of the Indian Ocean sleeping on the aft of the MV Explorer en route for Kochi, India. Maybe I spent too much time on this ship and I am loosing my mind a little, ha. I would love to write more about this, so I need you to prove me wrong. Seriously. Do it. :)

Digispark – The tiny, Arduino enabled, usb dev board!

That’s really small. And that’s really exciting.
Sorry to make 2 posts in a row of kickstarter projects, but really, awesomesque.

Public Lab DIY Spectrometry Kit

The Public Lab is launching on Kickstarter :  a “DIY kit helps analyze materials and contaminants. We need your help to build a library of open-source spectral data.” In the video Jeff Warren explains that this will be like a “shazam for material”, “wikipedia style” a “ubiquitous tool for scientists to identify unknown materials, like oil spill residue or coal tar in urban waterways”. As Protei is embarking for a journey to study and protect the ocean, this may reveal a very useful tool to have on our Unreasonable trip and make us contributors to this great community. I was very happy to work with Public Lab on the BP Oil Spill and I recognize some pictures I took in that video :)  I look forward to work on these new instruments. We want some of these, and please spread around. Open Hardware for the Environment!

Protei, Open hardware Shape Shifting Sailing Robot to Sense and Clean the Oceans.

Open hardware, shape-shifting sailing robot to sense and clean the oceans.The entire hull bends to control providing it unprecedented sailing properties. Originally developed to clean up oil spills, Protei will be used to measure radioactivity, plastic debris, monitor fisheries, coral reefs, algae blooms, provide general oceanographic data or serving as surface satellite link to underwater vehicles.

Protei_010 well under way

Protei_010.09, white styrene, glued with Solvent, sweet

Cesar Harada and Gabriella Levine have been working hard for the last month to develop the next generation of Protei in TechShop San Francisco. Gabriella gaining access to TechShop being an artist in residence and Cesar being a TED Fellow. We have been working on several hulls and are optimising Protei design for durability and simplified manufacturing. We’re getting there!

Unreasonable at Sea

Gabriella Levine and Cesar Harada have been selected to participate to the Unreasonable at sea for the Protei project.
Please watch the video above and you will understand why we are excited to be part of this great adventure. For several months on the sea, we will be in the company of some of the world most forward thinking entrepreneurs that will be our mentors. This is an immense honor for me and for the Protei Project and we will document this journey as well as possible to share this incredible privilege with the greatest number. You can see our dates of the travels and where we will stop on my time line.

View Unreasonnable at Sea in a larger map

Depart January 9 17:00
Arrive January 15 08:00
Depart January 16 20:00
Arrive January 27 08:00
Depart January 28 23:00
Arrive January 30 08:00
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Arrive February 12 08:00
Depart February 18 16:00
Arrive February 20 08:00
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Arrive February 25 08:00
Depart March 1 20:00
Arrive March 6 08:00
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Arrive April 6 08:00
Depart April 10 20:00
Arrive April 18 08:00
Depart April 21 20:00
Arrive April 25 08:00

Energy Animal

Energy_Animal, Open_Sailing, test in the sea

Working with Southampton University scientists on a promising “flexible marine energy converter”. Until march 2010 for EPSCR, NESTA, RCA, UK.



Simple markup language to facilitate academic collaborative writting. Use, collaborate, distribute.


Emoticon faces

That’s a silly video Gerard Rallo + Harry Vemeulen + Cesar Harada did back in 2009 at the Royal College of Arts – I just found it accidentally moments ago, and had a good laugh -again- :D

Liquid Economy


The future of money. The coming global currency. A set of simple ideas to change the world. Confidential for now.