The prototype that I presented to demo was tested (for the first time) the next morning in the parking lot in front of the hotel : http://youtu.be/yZu5t5Vqeoo
Cape Town is a spectacular city. The mountains that surround the city. The beauty of the ocean. The powerful winds. Captured above by our wonderful media team having lots of fun at work.
First thing we did in Cape Town was to go and meet with Gabriella’s friend who owns a fashion shop called Unknown Union in the hip area of the city. At the entrance of the shop, we were so surprised to find the installation of a my friend Candy Chang “Before I die, I want to …” !
Every time I come across Candy’s work, it reminds me of the good times I had when I was living in New Orleans a few years back, living in the same street as Candy in the Bywater. It reminds me of my dreams, it reminds me that everyone has amazing dreams, and we’re all in this world to make them all happen…
The SAP pitch event
The pitch event went very well, additionally to our “classic” pitch we added a soundtrack that was emotional and I think it really worked !I love the idea of making a music hall instead of a pitch event :) We won the SAP pitch event in Cape Town and the reward was …
A diner in a chic restaurant with all mentors and special guests
We were very fortunate to share the table with this group of exceptional people. Many of which were our influential mentors.
Koeberg, Africa only nuclear power plant
We spent about 2 days investigating about Koeberg, Africa one and only nuclear power plant. We rented a car, drove there twice.
You may be positively surprised to hear that the levels of radioactivity that we measured around the nuclear power plant were acceptable. In fact we had higher levels in the center of Cape Town than close to the Koeberg plant. We measured levels on the beach, and in the water at about 1 meter underwater with the sensor we customised with Safecast for the Fukushima expedition. We were able to pay a little visit at the Koeberg Visitor Center and learn all about the plant and the technology they use. Many kids were also visiting. We were not allowed to approach the power plant closer than 2 kilometers. According to documentation in the plant, the cooling of the reactor causes the temperature of the sea to be significantly increased (up to 10ºC) outside the plant outake of water. It was surprising to see that the Nuclear power plant is installed in the middle of a natural reserve that is a highly secured perimeter. What it felt was that the natural reserve was more of an excuse to keep curious people and activist at a greater distance… I’m now curious about the radioactivity levels at Vaalputs in the Northern Cape where the used fuel is disposed.
The local makers
We were introduced by Paul Mesarcik to the local designer / maker’s world.
Below Protei INC Art Collection very first acquisition !!! Who is the artist?
The Cape Town University
We were delighted to find a customised version of OpenROV at the University of Cape Town. Protei and OpenROV have shared a wonderful time at TechShop SF Summer 2012, it is super encouraging to see OpenROV in other countries, being modified and used.
Thanks to Paul Mesarcik that studied electro-mechanics at Cape Town University, we were introduced to Dr Robyn Verrinder of the Research and Instrumentation, Departement of Electric Engineering of Cape Town University. We discussed with local researchers their their latest development in autonomous sailing robot. Above, a freshly build hull that is being compartmentalised and ballasted with fishing lead weights in the bulb. Quite a few researchers are now interested in developing autonomous sailing robots, this is the people we want to involve with Protei!
The Gangster Incubator
We were lucky to meet Marlon Parker (Facebook) of Rlabs who introduced us to many inspiring young people in a not very inspiring neighbourhood. They explained us about their community, the hope they found, how the access to technology helped them feel empowered to look a their future, how it re-enchanted their lives.
We want to keep in touch with the RLabs.
We were lucky to meet with some people at the Shuttleworth foundation. Thumbs up for the Foundation!
Marine Transect, Moving Sushi
They just arrived from a 4 months journey the day before our departure from Cape Town! We had to meet!
The East African Marine Transect expedition is a not-for profit expedition that is managed and facilitated by Moving Sushi. Moving Sushi actions strong ideas by facilitating globally important marine-based scientific expeditions to explore the relationship between humanity, our marine environment, science, technology and how new knowledge is communicated and shared through open source channels.
They just completed 234 dives, were quite tired, and after sharing a quick breakfast they went back to unpack their boat.
Joe Heywood of North Sails
Our last encounter in South Africa was with Joe Heywood of North Sails. It was great sitting down with his family, sharing food and geeking about sail / rig designs. Thanks a lot for your precious advices Joe!
Today my good old friend Ollie Palmer sent me this BBC article about Fish Pi : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21848104 A few minutes apart, my other friend Cynthia Yeung sent me this about the wave glider : http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddwoody/2011/09/07/on-the-gulf-with-bps-wave-and-solar-powered-robots/
Fish Pi by Greg Holloway.
“The Fish Pi that will be venturing across the Atlantic will be much bigger than the concept vehicle. Early plans suggest it will be about 5ft 6in (1.7m) long, a foot (90cm) wide and its hull will be made of carbon fibre. Development costs will be about £15,000, estimates Mr Holloway.”
Wave Glider by Liquid Robotics.
“The Wave Glider’s capacity to operate autonomously at sea for months on end gathering data from uncharted reaches of the ocean has attracted $40 million in funding, including $22 million from VantagePoint Capital Partners, a leading Silicon Valley green tech investor, and oil industry services behemoth Schlumberger. VantagePoint’s chief executive, Alan Salzman, sees a huge potential market among companies and scientific organizations that now must spend anywhere between $30,000 and $150,000 a day to staff and outfit a carbon-spewing deep-ocean vessel. “Resupplying a ship in the middle of the ocean is staggeringly expensive,” he says. “The Wave Glider has enormous implications in terms of the ability to provide monitoring and information on things in the ocean we otherwise have no access to.”
Such different animals. I’m so in love with the space Protei is operating in. Autonomous sailing robots. An ocean of possibilites. The next frontier. We are a few players now, we may be thousands soon. It feels like it is the beginning of a great epoch. I think we all feel that. It probably has a lot in common with the the exaltation of the first manned flights years. Seeing your baby sailing on it’s own is a magical feeling. Imagining that one day it will become this little dot on the map collecting information, among many other points, such an adventure.
And the numbers are so impressive. The money. The size. The materials. So different. We have large corporations with multi-million investments on major media outlets facing devices made of parts that costs a few hundred dollars. And we’re all progressing fast with so much conviction, underdogs, overlords, all humbled by the power of the elements, all willing to be brocken and try, try again. I am happy I read these 2 articles side by side today because it informs me with the situation of Protei. I feel we’re somewhere between these 2 extremes. A rather sweet spot. A good place and we must pursue that “middle” slice. Not only for hackers, not only for big corporation, for everyone. I’m excited. Let’s go.
Previous post on the same topic : http://www.cesarharada.com/20130118-hawaii-big-island-plastic-beach/
Call to translators !
Hello, my name is Cesar Harada, French-Japanese Ocean Roboticist and TED Senior Fellow. With my colleague Gabriella Levine of the Open-H2O community we are developing the Open Hardware Shape-Shifting Sailing Robot to explore and protect the Ocean called “Protei.org“. We have the extreme privilege to have been selected by the Unreasonable Institute to develop the next generation of business hoping to impact the life of millions, mentored by an astounding group of world-class entrepreneurs and leaders, from Matt Mullenweg (WordPress) to Nobel Peace Laureate and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Vice President of Business Development at Google Megan Smith and many more. And like this wasn’t exciting enough, we will do all of this on a ship, sailing around the world for 4 months, stopping in the most significants ports, meeting potential sponsors, investors/partners, government representatives , academics, non-profits, environmental activists and discovering local cultures. Wow :)
This is one in a lifetime adventure, we want to take you with us.
We need your help, as translator.
Together, we can share this amazing journey and inspire more people.
January 6th 2013, we will depart from San Diego, heading to Ensenada in Mexico, than to Hawaii, Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Burma, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, debarking in Spain April 28th 2013 … See the map here. If you are in one of these places, we would love to meet you and -if you like- feature you in the blog! The languages of the journey : English (source), French, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Burmese, Malayalam (Cochin India), Afrikaans, Akan (Ghana), Arab. And I dream of : Portuguese, Korean, Indonesian, German, Russian, Dutch, Urdu, etc : all languages are welcome !
I would write a few times a week, posting fotos, videos and texts from the mentors presentations on the topics of entrepreneurship, environmental observations, notes about the development of our business and technology (we’ll work on Open Hardware instruments for environmental measurements), travel anecdotes from the boat and the land, some short interviews. I will publish the original blog posts in english, I have set up the system to be multi-lingual so your articles will be easily accessible. Just send me an email with the post translated – and I will copy-paste it, with your credits and links of course – What about starting by translating this one :) ?
If you have more questions, please comment below | if you want to be part of this, email me : email@example.com, easy.
The ocean is where all life comes from and is also the future of our societies may it come to food, energy, transport, information and security. We are developing an Open-Hardware technology that we hope will be a game changer to study and protect the oceans.
It is going to be quite a journey. Be part of it.