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Prototyping Tom Chi Book

20130209 Tom Chi's book
Sometimes you might meet a master. Tom Chi is a master.

Tom Chi & Cesar Harada

I feel lucky. But there is much more.

I was so impressed, I asked where I could buy Tom Chi’s book. And to my surprise, I did not find it anywhere.
So I proposed to write it. We decided to rapid prototype it. “Tom Chi” became a verb. It became a website. It became a twitter hashtag #tomchibook, it became a way of thinking, an attitude, perhaps a way of life.
With a handful of passionate followers and Tom Chi’s himself, we started brainstorming what the book would have as content. For several days, we met regularly. I want to continue until I have a hard copy in my hands. I wrote a 360 Pages book about my father the sculptor Tetsuo Harada in 3 languages, about 700 pictures and drawings. I feel capable and exciting to handle this.

Tom Chi and other's thoughts
All our brains melted over-clocked. We were all willing. And asked for more.

Map of unspoken reality
Needs an explanation.

Vision portfolio, posting
Needs more explanations.

Feeling and perception

Sharing long buried notes

The Brain - the world
So many models.

Prototyping Tom Chi's book

Here from left to right: Tom Chi, Laura Edwards, Cesar Harada, Gabriella Levine in classroom 1, on board of the MV Explorer.

But we did not have only these brainstorm sessions with Tom, we also had classes. Following are some photos and notes from a class.
Tom Chi workshop, Unreasonable at Sea, 2013
Why we should try more things.

Tom Chi workshop, Unreasonable at Sea, 2013
And now why trying, is learning, is saving time towards achieving goals. And is fun.

Tom Chi workshop, Unreasonable at Sea, 2013
And why prototyping is brave, and smarter than only thinking. Thinking by doing, is better than thinking only. Why designing by prototype is better than just designing.

Tom Chi workshop, Unreasonable at Sea, 2013
And in that respect, there is no such thing as “failure” as long as you learn from it.

Tom Chi workshop, Unreasonable at Sea, 2013
Same thing when it comes to business. It is not necessary to have millions to test an idea and waste all that time and that money. You can prototype it and quickly find out where it fails, and find many alternative routes.

Tom Chi workshop, Unreasonable at Sea, 2013
Same for a website or a software. A piece of papers, a few sticky notes. Done. A full user experience.

Tom Chi workshop, Unreasonable at Sea, 2013
Same for a marketing campaign. It can be acted. You can test it on your colleagues, friends and family. Get feedback, improve, change radically.

Tom Chi workshop, Unreasonable at Sea, 2013
Now in the “jungle of options”… How can one finds its way?

Tom Chi workshop, Unreasonable at Sea, 2013
Chi’s clearly defining R&D. Research is multiplying options, even contradictory directions, especially contradictory trajectories. Development is, after choosing one option, or combining several options, to be as efficient and focused on developing one clear thing with a list of specs, deliverables, outcomes.

Tom Chi workshop, Unreasonable at Sea, 2013
For Chi, all products and experiences are producing mental transformations. Our devices alter how we perceive the world, and ourselves.

Tom Chi workshop, Unreasonable at Sea, 2013
As a conclusion of this session, Tom Chi presented the work of his amazing wife Lucille Whitaker and her upcoming book about the inter-dependance of systems, an illustrated educational book.

Protei visiting HK, China
Tom Chi has improved the way we work together and with others.

Protei visiting HK, China
How to manage time, tasks, expectations. How to wrap up compelling experiences into learning, learning into actions, into transformations of the self. I will continue working on the book as long as I am allowed.

Brainstorming and prototyping with Tom Chi
We have some content.

Brainstorming and prototyping with Tom Chi
With the right way of thinking, all becomes possible.

Brainstorming and prototyping with Tom Chi
What is the next internet?

Brainstorming and prototyping with Tom Chi
Can we be intentional and create a strong platform for collaboration and build a positive global consciousness?

Brainstorming and prototyping with Tom Chi
Can the singularity be not about machine taking over humans, but a true collaboration that empowers both?

Brainstorming and prototyping with Tom Chi
Can we work together and exponentially augment human shared intelligence as a continuous dialog, instead of all thinking in our silos?

Brainstorming and prototyping with Tom Chi
For me, this is the continuation of my research on Open Architecture. Above, my illustrated history of western philosophy. I need to continue this research. This is a work of epistemology.

Ways of thinking. To unite the world, we must admit there are many different ways of thinking. It is in diversity that we will find Peace… and Chaos.

20130410 Protei wants to work in Ghana

Protei had a great time in Ghana, many productive meetings.
We want to come back to Ghana and work with many locals initiatives.


Open Hardware for the Environment Questions


Thanks to Andrea Grover, I got these highly relevant questions about Open Hardware for the Environment from Hiroyuki Hamada. With his permission, I am transferring these questions here on my blog, to perhaps integrate the FAQ of Protei new website.


>> Have you met any resistance from governmental organizations or industry people for not conforming to the traditional business model or simply be seen as a threat?
I think we have been too small to be seen as a threat to anyone for now, but we hope that as we grow, this will not happen. We really want to serve government, industry, academia and residents (environmental activists) as a neutral technology platform for science and environmental remediation. Our technology is very new, in comparison flying drones have attracted much more serious and deserved criticism, it is a matter of time I guess. Any technology can be used for malicious ends, we need to work on best practice and I personally will not support military applications of our technology.
Our business model is based on an Ethical Order of Priority that puts the environment first. This is the shift that our civilisations need to take if they are interested to continue existing in the future. Joi Ito puts it very well here :

One hundred years from now, the role of science and technology will be about becoming part of nature rather than trying to control it.

So much of science and technology has been about pursuing efficiency, scale and “exponential growth” at the expense of our environment and our resources. We have rewarded those who invent technologies that control our triumph over nature in some way. This is clearly not sustainable.

We must understand that we live in a complex system where everything is interrelated and interdependent and that everything we design impacts a larger system.

My dream is that 100 years from now, we will be learning from nature, integrating with nature and using science and technology to bring nature into our lives to make human beings and our artifacts not only zero impact but a positive impact to the natural system that we live in.

I agree with this statement, and I believe is that this way of thinking should not be postponed to a hundred years from now, but put in practice immediately to re-think our philosophical, economic, industrial and social models. I am lucky enough to start a project from a blank slate and incorporate these into my group strategy, vision and daily operations.

>> How do you enforce the conditions for the open hardware partnership? Patent issues? And most importantly, how do you make sure that the ethical concerns–the environmental concerns–to be the central to the projects? Have there been any legal cases involving open hardware?
Any technological device that’s complex enough, comes with a user agreement and some sort of disclaimer limiting the liability from the manufacturer in case of misuse of the technology / accident incurred. If it was expensive enough it might even come with a warranty. If the technology is recent and occupies a significant market segment, it is likely that the technology will be licensed / patented in order to guarantee the industrial an exclusivity on the intellectual property, the manufacturing, distribution, branding and marketing of a technology. Each person in this traditional chain protects their interests, monopoly, maximise their own profit with a reduced transparency.

It is in the interest of everyone in the Open Hardware community (makers and users are the same people) that the technologies progresses fast. That’s even more clean when it is to address environmental issues. When we publish our work, we publish it as alpha or beta on the public web under an open licence.   So far we have been using :

We are in the process of developing our own “flavour” of Open Hardware license that we are calling Open Hardware H2O, that will be maintained by the non Profit organisation Open-H2O specifically for aquatic applications, similarly to how the CERN developed their own “Open Hardware CERN” license.
To date and in my knowledge, the Open Hardware license that we are using has not yet been challenged at the court (it is only 2 years old license). Of course, we do not want to see any Open Hardware company being abused but we are looking for our license to be validated through winning a litigation, making a case.

The licensing of the work cannot enforce that the technology will be used for environmental good ; as it is an open source technology, anyone can use it for whatever they want, we do not want to declare any use of our technology illegal, the user is responsible. In our company, we have decided to make decisions according to the ethical principles mentioned above, that means that : to economic growth we will prioritise environmental growth, social growth and technological growth. We found that not only people or companies can work like that, but a new generation of stock exchange such as “Impact Investment Exchange” value the environment and social good as well as economic trade . This is not a purely an uninterested ideological statement -as we do need to make money to operate- it is also going with the assumption that environmental resources are more precious than economic resources : “When the Last Tree Is Cut Down, the Last Fish Eaten, and the Last Stream Poisoned, You Will Realize That You Cannot Eat Money” (I found it hard to find a reliable source to quote, I apologize). We believe that technology is to serve the environment, not to dominate it, and that on the long term, we will see greater economic returns as we protect and promote precious “environmental assets” ; this goes without mentioning water wars, Environmental migration and other impacting socio-economic events …


>> I see that the successful operations of open hardware depends on openness, equal rights and fairness. There might be additional challenges if the market/operation to be global because of the differences in governmental regulations or restrictions possibly imposed by corporate based international treaties (NAFTA, upcoming TPP and so on). Has there been any global initiatives to enforce and protect the basic rules of open hardware? 
I believe in equal opportunities, but I personally believe in meritocracy to run a community and a company – to me that’s fairness, and that’s encouraging efficiency to serve the purpose of the company : explore and protect the Environment.
There will be challenges inherent to the space we are evolving in (international and national waters) and the questions of liability of sailing drones is a relatively new subject for everyone, as autonomous journeying just found a new record a few days ago. I must admit that we do not have the answer to this today. The “Open Hardware H2O” license version 0.1 that we are working on is meant to draft what would be the inventor, manufacturer, ship-owner, user/operator responsibility in respect to all the NAFTA, TPP, Governmental regulations and treaties. As our organisation grows and we get more funding, we will be able to support more lawyer’s time and upgrade this license from Version 0.1 to 0.2 etc.

>> Are the big industries catching up to incorporate the open hardware? 
Big industry players are starting to understand that Open Innovation is where future big money is, with the rise of the Prosumer, the long tail and other economic paradigm born in recent years with the internet, mobile technologies and globalisation. The question is “can they adapt?”, “can they re-invent themselves?”, or will they collapse under their own weight as most empire do? We are in discussion with several large companies, because they are interested to understand how we innovate so fast, and how we thrive ignoring boundaries between governments, industries, academia and residents -namely- the entire market. Think about automotive Industry that may be one day taken over by groups such as wikispeed, think about agriculture with Open Ecology, and us for ocean technologies.
One of the most emblematic Open Hardware technology is Arduino and you can now find it in every RadioShack. In 2010 Lady Ada and P Torrone presented “Million dollar baby – Businesses designing and selling open source hardware, making millions“, and that was 2010, now we are talking about hundreds of Open Hardware projects and businesses.

Open source hardware $1m and beyond – foo camp east 2010 from adafruit industries on Vimeo.

At the occasion of Iran Army intercepting a US drone, Chris Anderson of 3D Robotics made fascinating comments of how the US Army is interested to tap into Open Hardware to accelerate technology development. You would be surprised how many open source technologies are used for national security and intelligence.

I personally believe that the Open Hardware movement is at the heart of the Next Industrial Revolution. What I am interested in is : how can we can make sure that this industrial revolution does not perpetuate even more harm to the environment than the previous one did, hence my extreme interest in the “Open Hardware for the Environment”.
I am now :

  • writing my PhD Thesis about the topic
  • starting a business of ocean robotics based on these premises, Protei INC.
  • contributing to a non-profit that develops such technologies, Open-H2O.

This is an unchartered territory and we need to make our own way through the unknown. It is certainly exciting, the stakes are high with huge environmental challenges, and we will make many mistakes, stumble and get back up, each of us contributing an un-recognisably microscopic part to the transformation of our human culture. But what I love about this movement is how many shoulders one can find, how many helping hands are joining this effort, how many friendships are built. It is a technological adventure, but it is also a philosophical one, a financial one, an environmental one. Yes, one day big industries will capture the spirit of Open Hardware and market it, some of it will be controlled by us, some not, and some of us will continue to explore always further, dreaming and fighting for environmental justice.

Network Growth Programming

Physical Social Network Programming

I have been continuing to research how physical social networks (made with people and strings) can be grown. In addition of the 7 basic network topologies – which I consider now as only a subset on network growth “instruction”- I listed 4 larger ensembles :

  • Behavioural Programming: Guiding people to form 1) Line, 2) Mesh, 3) Fully connected, 4) form groups.
  • Visual Programming: Asking a group of connected individuals to conform to prescribed geometrical figures.
  • Numerical Programming: Giving each single individual a set of simple instructions to apply regardless of other dynamics, and let these “naturally” interact.
  • Entropy: After having conducted these previous experiments, giving participants the instruction to do whatever they want with the string.

I have also updated the instruction set of instructions for the “Behavioural programming” here :

Warm up
Walk random patterns eyes open
Run random patterns with eyes open
Walk random patterns eyes closed
Run random patterns with eyes closed
Stand up still eyes open, look at others
Stand up still eyes closed, feel others
Stand up still eyes open, stand up on one leg
Stand up on one leg, close one eye. Close the second eye.
Spin in one direction until you get dizzy.
Spin the other direction until you cancel the dizziness.
Stand up still eyes open, look at others
Stand up still eyes closed, feel others

Linear Network (Line)
_ I pull one line and connect everybody.
Walk random patterns eyes closed
Run random patterns with eyes closed
Stand up still eyes closed, feel others
Stand up still eyes open, look at others

Mesh Network (Mesh)
_ I cut the line, disconnecting some, reconnecting others in a mesh.
Walk random patterns eyes closed
Run random patterns with eyes closed
Stand up still eyes closed, feel others
Stand up still eyes open, look at others

Fully Connected Network (Fully Connected)
_ I each and everyone.
Walk random patterns eyes closed
Run random patterns with eyes closed
Stand up still eyes closed, feel others
Stand up still eyes open, look at others

Community building (Segregation)
How do you feel?
We went through 3 different types of network topologies :
1) a line network
2) a mesh network
3) a fully connected network
Which one did you prefer / dislike? Why?
What defines a community? Why?
Now I will get back to giving a few more instructions.
_ Pause.
Stand up still eyes closed, feel others
Feel others with the strings.
Which strings do you like most? Which string would you rather drop.
Keep the strings you like, drop the strings you don’t feel comfortable holding.
Eyes closed, keep holding the strings, but now move freely, wherever you want to go.
When you feel you are in the right place, stop. Take your time.
When I will see more than half of you standing still, this will be the end of this part of the experiment.
_ Pause.
How do you feel?
What did you learn?
What did we learn as a group?
How could push this experiment further?

I will continue this research further later – that was just a research note – and a cool poster coming out of it :) Original files here (.ai .pdf .jpg). Do you know of any interesting references / books / pdfs about network growth / evolution / topologies? Thanks!

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.