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Protei in the New York Times today

A Cruise on the S.S. Brainstorm

Delighted to read about Protei in the New York Times today. Special thanks to Melena Ryzik for the article. Archive as pdf here (1.5mb).

A version of this article appears in print on September 29, 2013, on page ST1 of the New York edition with the headline: A Cruise on the S.S. Brainstorm.

2013 Lamma Island Oil Spill needs more Research & Cleaning

On July 14th, my girlfriend and were hiking on Lamma Island (Hong Kong) for her birthday. I was told there had been a small oil spill recently, but I did not expect to see it when we arrived in Tung O Wan, Shek Pai Wan (22.196649, 114.139827).

“June 21, a 10m x 15m slick was reported in waters off Tung O Wan, and a 100m x 15m slick was seen on Tung O Wan beach. The department cleaned small oil patches off Tung O Wan on June 22 and 23, and will send samples of the oil to the Government Laboratory for analysis.”

We made this video with our mobile phone that day, thanks to Nadege Nguyen.

Dissection of a crab

Crab Lungs affected by Oil Spill

Panorama & Photos

Lamma Oil Spill 2013, Panorama, Shek Pai Wan 2013 07 14

Oil Spill at Shek Pai Wan, Lamma Island
That’s how we saw the beach on the July 14th 2013. All the black slug you see on the rocks is oil.

I guess that’s the oil as it was reaching shore a fews days after June 21st 2013 (Aerial photography).

That was before the oil spill. It would be good to get back to this state.

Proposal for further Research & Cleaning

Shek Pai wan site needs more research and more cleaning.

  1. Biological analysis. Sampling crabs, fishes, turtles, shells and study their respiratory, digestive, endocrine and reproductive systems. 
  2. Aerial Photography & Mapping with visible and infrared spectrum.
  3. Underwater photography and mapping with visible and infrared spectrum
  4. Water sample Spectrography to detect traces of oil  (and perhaps other chemicals) in water

All research would be done using Open Source technology and the findings published as we go.

I am looking for Hong Kong residents to collaborate, please get in touch :

20130425 The Unreasonable Journey of an Entrepreneur Sailing Around the World


After 4 months at sea. We finally landed. After travelling in 14 countries, together. After sharing a small cabin with no windows and a tiny bathroom. It is all behind us now. As everyone was saying good bye,  I had to tell my Unreasonable Fellows “You are not going back home, the ocean is your home”, they are always welcome.

Last Unreasonable at Sea Night on board of the MV Explorer. So magical, did it really happen?

You can imagine it was not easy saying good bye. A new family was formed, now scattered as a global network. Each going back to their countries.

Hard to believe that we were the lucky 10 companies chosen out of about 1000… it is now history. Allow me to list theses 10 companies:

  1. Agua: Providing clean water to 300,000 people w/out chemicals or energy (just plants).
  2. Damascus Fortune: Nanotechnology that transforms carbon emissions into material for spaceships.
  3. Innoz: Most used mobile-app in India. Designed to leapfrog internet. +120,000,000 users.
  4. GuruG: Educates and empowers teachers through a “gamified” platform.
  5. Solar Ear: World’s 1st digitally programmable and rechargeable hearing aids.
  6. Protei: Wind powered, shape shifting, open source sailing drones that explore and clean oceans.
  7. Evolving Technologies: Radically affordable medical devices for maternal care in emerging markets.
  8. One Earth Design: Harnesses the sun for cooking & energy. Ranked best solar cooker on earth.
  9. Prakti: Feeding 250,000 people daily with ultra-affordable and fuel efficient stoves.
  10. Artificial Vision for the Blind : Artificial intelligence leveraged as a non-invasive cure for blindness.

Keep an eye on these guys. What will happen to them in the next months and years? Will they realise the idea that “entrepreneurship can change the world”? Will they become icons of social entrepreneurship? Or will theses companies fall apart? Time will tell.

Testing Protei 10.5

Protei 10.5 Testing in Parque del Ciutadella, Barcelona, Spain. Thanks to the Prieto’s (Muriel, Jesus, Rosa), Bianca Cheng Costanzo & Nils Mattisson.

Protei 10.5 Testing in Parque del Ciutadella, Barcelona, Spain

Photos by Improbables productions, Fanny Pernoud & Olivier Bonnet.

What we learnt

The world is a big place, but I want to keep my summary as short and synthetic as possible.

A journey of learning

  1. 20130109 SAN DIEGO, CA, UNITED STATES. Departure
  2. 20130110 ENSENADA, MEXICO. Red tides affect the region. Delicious food, good people
  3. 20130115 HILO, HAWAII, UNITED STATES. Meeting with Henk Carson, Marcus Eriksen & Anna Cummins, Spectacular plastic pollution, Kamilo Beach. Unreasonable short about Protei and plastic
  4. 20130127 YOKOHAMA, JAPAN. Presentation at Tokyo University. Midori, Japanese translator. FuRo Robotics Laboratory. Unreasonable documents Protei visit at FuRo. Akihabara “Electric Town”, Flying Tokyo presentation. Protei and Safecast in Fuksuhima measuring radioactivity. Japan, 2 years after. Kyoto University, departure.   
  5. 20130208 HONG KONG, CHINA. Make it in China! Deciding to set up our headquarters in Hong Kong / Shenzhen.  
  6. 20130218 HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM. Vietnam : “Croire our douter”, believe or doubt
  7. 20130221 SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE. Singapore, Startup Country.
  8. 20130301 RANGOON, BURMA. Myanmar.
  9. 20130311 COCHIN, INDIA. Kochi. 
  10. 20130318 PORT LOUIS, MAURITIUS. Maurice. 
  11. 20130330 CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA.  Cape Town, Koeberg, South Africa. The Gangster incubator, great sailors. 
  12. 20130407 TAKORADI, GHANA. Oil + Fish Industry = complicated
  13. 20130421 CASABLANCA, MOROCCO. HACKATHON !!! Redefining success. 
  14. 20130425 BARCELONA, SPAIN. This very post. 


During the voyage we built 3 Protei prototypes that we transported and tested in a variety of waters. Although not having access to our working space, tools and materials often felt limiting, we learnt how to do more with less, simplifying how we prototype Protei.
In a nutshell Protei needs to be:

  • More rugged, to take around.
  • Smaller needs to fit in a standard suitcase and be easy to strap to a backpack. Lighter in particular would allow the use of rechargeable D cells as ballast.
  • Simpler to set, wire at the beginning and while the machine is already in operations with spring loaded clamps at the end of wires.
  • Transparent is convenient for maintenance and acknowledging if there is a water leak inside the dry case.
  • Equiped with a modular removable dry case inside the hull for the electronics makes maintenance much easier.
  • The ease to recycle the hull is critical to most people since they do not want to see Protei polluting the oceans.
  • The mast length should not exceed the total length of the boat, for safer packing and transportation.
  • Sensors: travelling to all these places, talking to local scientists we learnt a lot about the sensors they would want to transport within Protei.
  • Cost: we have a much better idea of who can buy Protei, for what and at what price.
  • Managing Performance expectations: We now know what people want this technology to do. We must make clear that we are delivering a beta product at this point.


Protei Ethical values

  • Define our identity and culture as a corporation. Some have described Protei Inc. as a technology coompany, other as social entrepreneurs, some as a clean-tech startup. Being surrounded by other companies helped us understand how similar and different we are. This may sound obvious for those who know us but this is our corporate culture:
    • Ethical order of priorities: 1. Environment, 2. Social, 3. Technology, 4. Profit.
    • Open: The problems we are trying to address are huge, as huge as the ocean, there is enough work for everybody. Let’s work together.
    • Hands-on: think and develop by prototyping, by testing the field, in the hands of our user. “Fast, cheap and out of control“.
    • Community-driven development, Product and timing to release open source documentation: To make sure we cover our overhead and stay open, we release the documentation when we ship the product, not before. Internally, we work on extremely fast prototyping cycles.
    • Fast paced. Being an Open Hardware business means that we invite others to copy and improve on what we do. In other words, we are constantly trying to put ourselve out of business, helping as much as we can competition. We have to innovate constantly in order to stay ahead of the game.
    • Radical innovation on 3 main topics (for now): 1. Technology (Shape Shifting Sailing Robot), 2. Open Hardware, 3. Global innovation community (Social R&D).
    • Collaborative, competitive: Collaboration and competition can be one same playful activity as long as it is fair and harmless. Again, the ocean is big enough for all of us, let’s address its issues together.
    • Measured risk: like any corporation, we need to survive to thrive and contribute to our maximum capacity to the world.
    • Organic growth: Protei brings about a new technology, but it is really a new industry potentially. We want to grow with our community.
    • Ambitious but not speculative: too many engineering firms or labs guarantee their technology would scale before testing. Let’s not do that. Because this is a new industry, we do not want to have opportunistic investment speculating and deviating us from our core value.
    • This is about learning: Developing Open Hardware Shape-Shifting Sailing Robots is not that common and there will be bumps on the road. Let’s learn about them.
    • Non-military applications: we will not provide technical support for life threatening applications.

We learnt about what kind of people we want to be, who we want to work with:

  • About the people:
    • Integrity, loyalty: we can all agree that we we are all different, and we need to be able to trust each other.
    • Creativity & Persistance: doing whatever it takes to make it work, even it is not in the job description. Be resourceful, own it.
    • Humour: being capable of laughing especially in the difficult or painful situation. That tells
    • Curious & Fearless: In a given experience, the expected outcomes may be A, B or C. Choose D. Ask the hard and the painful dumb questions over again.

We decided to move to Hong Kong !

  • Decided to move the manufacturing to Hong Kong. We could not have make that strategic decision without this trip.

We had amazing mentors from whom we learnt so much :

    • Tom Chi: about rapid prototyping, ways of thinking, metaphysics…
    • George Kembel: Empathy, Design Thinking
    • Daniel Epstein: Story telling
    • Ken Banks: Being lean, scaling up and making choices…
    • Kamran Elahian: about being kind, the dimension of future progress…
    • Jeff Hoffman: defining your target customer, team building, leadership and employee qualities, pricing…
    • Megan Both: about being business minded, strategy…
    • Megan Smith: the emergence and access to information…
    • Pascal Finette: about pitching and cultivating the spirit of innovation in your company…
    • Chris Shipley: launching a product…
    • Matt Mullenweg: about leadership and control of Open Source project…
    • Coleman Chamberlain: building a company vision and identity…
    • Caroline Whaley: about team building….
    • Prince Fahad al Saud: imagination and the self…
    • Jane Finette: About community building…
    • Hunter Lovins: Green economy…
    • Carly Cooper: about design thinking and running a startup within a large corporation…
    • Scot Frank & Catlin Powers: performance and humanitarian business structure…
    • Amruth: Determinism
    • Rehan Hassan: Start-up legal issues 101…
    • Safecast, Joe Morros: Radioactivity and activism in Japan
    • Truc-anh: about poetry, rage and beauty…
    • Archibishop Desmond Tutu: about god, love and justice…
    • El Alaoui: doing with what you have…

And the list goes on and on…


In every single port we stopped we met people that could benefit from Protei. From the mexican scientists in Mexico studying red tides, to those in Hawaii combatting plastic pollution, the Japanese network of radioactivity sensing activists around Fukushima, to the chinese, vietnamese and indian residents, environmental activists and scientists, South African sailors and roboticists, the Ghanian fishermen suffering oil pollution, the fast growing maker movement and engineers in Morocco. We have learnt so much about our community on this journey as much on the technical, financial, psychological and personal level.


I also learnt a lot on a personal level. Many of which are hard to explain with words.

  • Gabriella Levine: getting to know my business partner. Yes, she’s absolutely awesome across the board. Exceptional, I’m the luckiest man in the world to work with Gabriella. For me developing good people is the condition to developing good technologies.
  • defining my personal identity as global citizen. I have been traveling so much these last years… The ocean is my home. Forever.
  • Achieve a dream, Sailing around the world: since I am a child I have been dreaming of sailing around the world. Check. Next time I want to do it wind powered though!
  • Develop strategies of “How to use capitalism for the Environment”, “Open Hardware for the Environment”. I feel I made a lot of progress thanks to all the discussions we had on board and on land.
  • Built a new family: and that’s not a detail. A trusted network, that’s priceless. 

Learning to “dream with my eyes open”

I think these 2 images below sum up what has changed for me.
Retrospectively I feel I was almost almost gambling, about the different options. I feel I know more what I am doing now.

Protei in Cape Town, South Africa

A lot of what seemed mystery is really common sense. It all makes sense.

Protei in Cape Town, South Africa

Many of my intuitions have been verified. This mask has the third eye. I’m not trying to evoke anything esoteric here, I am only suggesting that a lot of what I felt instinctively about the business was made tangible. I feel more confident now. Also impatient to get on the “battlefield” after so much preparation.

What’s next

  • logistics of moving
  • visas
  • set up a company in HK in order to manufacture
  • find an office, a workshop and a place to love
  • anticipate transportation, food, insurances
  • Find a sponsor / partner / client to contribute towards our manufacturing cost and be at the forefront of sailing technology and re-inventing ocean big data capture and clean up

1 ship. 100 days at sea. 14 countries. 10 companies. 2o mentors. 600 students. A life changing experience.

Unreasonably yours.

20130420 PROTEI HACKATHON !!! April 20th in Casablanca Morocco

Protei Hackathon Poster !

Facebook Event :

DATE: Samedi 20 Avril 2013, 10:00 – 23:00
LOCATION: ESITH  Eole Supérieure des Industries du Textile et de l’Habillement. Route d’Eljadida, km 8, BP 7731 – Oulfa, Casablanca, Maroc. Plan
LANGUES : Francais, English, Arabic


make code sail share

Above from right to left : “Make, Code, Sail, Share”.

Venez fabriquer des robots a voile basés sur micro-controller Arduinoraspberry πservomotorsDC moteur et autre senseurs pendant une journée inoubliable d’électromécanique, de code, de test dans l’eau, de Kinecthacks, de rencontres. Nous fabriquerons des coques de bateau, des mats, des voiles, des boitiers de contrôle mécanique, assemblerons des circuits électroniques, programmerons, testerons nos machines sur l’eau, partagerons sur les réseaux sociaux. Nous discuterons aussi les principes du mouvement DIY et Open Hardware (technologies ouvertes et gratuites).
Protei (page facebook) est un navire autonome Open Source a coque articulé developé pour explorer et nettoyer les océans. Les océans souffrent de marées noires, de pollution plastique, fuites radioactives, surpêche, mort des récifs coralliens, changement climatique, montée du niveau de la mer. Nous devons developer ensemble des technologies àtants la hauteur de ces défis.


Cesar Harada Gabriella Levine El Wali El Alaoui Darren Bennett


Le Hackathon est ouvert aux experts comme au débutants sera facilité par :
Cesar HARADA (France-Japon): Inventeur du system Protei de bateau à coque articulé, Ex-Project Leader au MIT, TED Fellow.
Gabriella LEVINE (USA) : Hardware Designer & Hacker, Top women in Tech (Adafruit), Master de ITP Tisch de New York.
El Wali El Alaoui (Maroc): Fondateur de SaharaLabs / Tarfaya Hackerspace, premier et unique hackerspace au Maroc.
Darren Bennett (USA): Directeur créatif, Microsoft Studios, Membre de groupe a l’origine de la Kinect.



  • 10:00 – 11:00 : Introduction du mouvement Open Hardware. Protei, robot naviguant. Introduction du Workshop. Questions. Formation des groupes.
  • 11:00 – 12:30 : Prototypage rapide. 3 cycles rapide de design en petits groupes.
  • 12:30 – 13:00 : Dejeuner leger.
  • 13:00 – 14:45 : Fabrication de bateaux robotises en petits groupes. Revue par les instructeurs.
  • 14:45 – 15:00 : Presentation interne entre groupes.
  • 15:00 – 16:30 : Construction des prototypes.
  • 16:30 – 17:00 : Nous marcherons avec les prototypes de l’ISETH au lac le plus proche.
  • 17:00 – 18:00 : Test dans l’eau, photos, video, documentation.
  • 18:00 – 19:00 : Diner
  • 19:30 – 23:00 : Sceance d’approfondissement pour celles et ceux qui veulent aller plus loin, améliorer les prototypes, documenter et partager sur les réseaux sociaux.



Chacun des participants du workshop est libre, responsable et ne peux poursuivre les organisateurs, l’hote, les partenaires, les sponsors, les medias presents en cas d’accident corporel, de vol ou de perte des biens ou de donnees.
Tout ce qui sera produit lors du workshop est publie sous license open source : Hardware (CERN OH), Code (GNU GPL) Documentation (dessin, photo, video, diagrames, textes) sousCreative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Chaque participant permets aux medias presents d’utiliser les photos et videos capturees pendant la duree du workshop.

AGE MINIMUM : 18 Ans, ou accompagne par les parents. 

FRAIS D’ADMISSION : 150 DH a l’entree. Boisson et nourriture inclus. Amenez des outils, des composants et des materiaux.
REJOIGNEZ LE GROUPE “PROTEI HACKATHON” SUR FACEBOOK : Joindre le goupe Facebook n’est pas une inscription formelle. Pour participer au Hackathon il est obligatoire de s’inscrire.


proteisaharalabsciseenactus esithmicrosoftunreasonable mediaThalassa


Protei Services

Talking to Megan Both (Microsoft) and Chris Shipley recently has helped us a lot thinking about Protei services. What should we monetize? What should remain free? What piece has got to be Open Source? What part doesn’t necessarily have to be Open Source? What can we scale? What are our horizontal (business baseline) vs verticals (applications/users)? So much marketing and business strategies to think around beyond a simple product!
Protei Services

The way I like to think about this is the same as cameras : you have someone who builds the parts, one person that assembles the parts into a camera, someone else to test them, ship, distribute, sale, insure, provide all the connected services, accessories, hardware and software, someone that gives you the driver, someone that teaches you how to use the camera, maybe even go to a photography academy, than you have to buy the memory card, the memory card reader, an extra battery, the guy that sells you the cable to connect it to your computer, than you take pictures, but soon you fill up your hard drive, now you upload your pictures, you be part of a community, you sort and tag them, they get into your profile page, it becomes your consumer identity, feed to your social network, flickr it, instagram it, facebook it, you are being analysed among thousands of other users, become part of stats, give general tendencies about what’s beautiful and popular, what is not, what should be tolerated, it informs the company strategy company, can go higher into policy and the philosophy of media, social cohesion, the economy, the making of culture. Each of these steps can become a flourishing business independently. All of these services can be provided by different people, and many new services can be invented around a new technology. mmmm…. 5AM, time to go to sleep!

20130330 Protei wins SAP pitch event in Cape Town, South Africa

20130330 Protei wins SAP pitch in Cape Town, Human IPO

Thanks a lot to Nanine Steenkamp of HumanIPO for covering this event at the One&Only in Cape Town, South Africa.

“Protei, an open source oil spill cleaning robot startup from the United States was appointed as the winner at the SAP conference for Cape Town’s Unreasonable at Sea shore stop today (Tuesday).

The panel of judges was impressed by the principles of biomimicry, the open source environment principles and the “massive impact” the innovation can have worldwide, Simon Carpenter, director of Strategic Initiatives at SAP in Africa said.

The idea originated from the concern of damage to nature because of harmful oil emissions in the ocean, spread by the currents.

Protei provides the solution through a shape shifting robotic sailing boat which cleans up oil while moving in the water.

Although different motoring technologies are applied according to varying sizes, wind power mobilisation and solar power can be implemented to be even more environmentally friendly.

Further possibilities posed by the invention include upscaling of open source hardware, provision of ocean data, playful educational science-focused activities and tablet games associated with the control of the sea-bound robots.

Gabrielle Levine, chief operations officer and Cesar Harada, chief executive officer, are the two founders of Protei.

Judges included Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress.

The Unreasonable at Sea initiative carries 11 startups from across the globe to destinations around the world in a ship where the selected entrepreneurial seafarers are sharpening their skills and business ideas for market success through a program designed by Daniel Epstein, founder of the Unreasonable Institute.”

20130320 Daniel Epstein on TechCrunch about Unreasonable at Sea, from the sea

20130320 Daniel Epstein on Tech Cruntch


When we first heard about Daniel Epstein‘s plan to bring his Unreasonable Institute startup accelerator to the high seas with a 100 day, around-the-world sailing expedition called ‘Unreasonable At Sea,’ it frankly seemed like a pretty crazy idea. Let alone the risk of pirates (thereal kind, not the entrepreneurial kind), there are so many possible things that could go wrong for the 11 startups aboard the ship — bad Internet connections, seasickness, homesickness, and the like.

Unreasonable At Sea's around the world voyage

Unreasonable At Sea’s around the world voyage

So now that Unreasonable At Sea is more than halfway through its voyage (it started January 9th in San Diego and ends April 25th in Barcelona) we decided to check back in with Epstein for a TechCrunch TV talk yesterday morning to see how everything is coming along. For starters, the Internet connection is actually pretty solid, as we were able to see in the quality of our Skype chat as he was aboard the Unreasonable At Sea ship in the Indian Ocean just off the coast of Mauritius. He told us that everything else is going just as swimmingly (sorry, I can never resist making some kind of water pun when writing about this endeavor.)

Watch the video embedded above to hear Epstein talk about the perks of the journey so far, how the startup folks are mingling with the Semester At Sea students aboard the ship (and getting some work out of them too), what the biggest lessons and surprises have been so far, and what’s in store for the rest of the journey ahead.

20130311 Kochi, India

This is why I was excited about India :)

What we found was not that different at the DREAM HOTEL in Kochi ! ;) More lasers perhaps :)
Protei a Kochi, India

Protei a Kochi, India
We did our presentation in a campus that’s in the middle of the construction process. I felt great energy and excitement.

Protei a Kochi, India
India opens its doors wide open to the Silicon valley spirit.

We dream of a day when the sun sets at dusk of the silicon valley it would rise to see the the dawn of a silicon coast in India.

Instead of diving into the “startup India” in Bangalore as Gabriella did (posts of Gabriella Levine 1, 2, 3 in Bangalore) , I focused on buying supply to build more Protei prototypes for the rest of the voyage. That means a lot of scooting around again.
Protei a Kochi, India

I really enjoyed discovering indian ingenuity and all the local craftsmen.

Kochi with a bike
I enjoyed the colourful markets…

Kochi with a bike
But also noticed piles of detritus everywhere in the streets, that ends in the sewage, untreated. Many times we saw the public servants cleaning the congested sewage lines.

Kochi Polluted river
Very bad news for Kochi. It’s waters are devastated. I never saw darker waters. Water in public rivers is like ink!

Polluted waters in Kochi, Kerala, India
That’s another part of the city. Same observation. Appalling.
We did not have / or taken the time to study in depth water pollution in India.

It is also revealing that it is a Chinese media NTDTV that seem to be concerned about pollution India, chinese acting as a regional environmental whistleblower, interestingly.

India is facing immense challenges when it comes to water quality. Its most sacred river is one of the world most polluted river. Are the gods polluting or are indians responsible for their sacred rivers?

To know why 1,000 Indian children die of diarrhoeal sickness every day, take a wary stroll along the Ganges in Varanasi. As it enters the city, Hinduism’s sacred river contains 60,000 faecal coliform bacteria per 100 millilitres, 120 times more than is considered safe for bathing. Four miles downstream, with inputs from 24 gushing sewers and 60,000 pilgrim-bathers, the concentration is 3,000 times over the safety limit. In places, the Ganges becomes black and septic. Corpses, of semi-cremated adults or enshrouded babies, drift slowly by.
Source: The Economist on December 11, 2008

The world treasure Taj Mahal is bordered by the Yamuna river that western journalists have qualified as “a putrid ribbon of black sludge.”

Its level of fecal bacteria is 10,000 times higher than what’s deemed safe for bathing. After a half-billion-dollar, 15-year program to build 17 sewage treatment plants, raw sewage still spills into the river at the rate of 3.6 billion liters a day.

India has a limited set of legal safeguards to protect it’s most vital asset, water.

By 2050, India is expected to become the world most populous country, with 1,523,482,000 people, that is an increase of 24.4% between 2000 and 2050.  The pressure on rivers and the negative impact on fisheries is not going to decrease any time soon. I hope to come back to India and help with Protei.

Gabriella presented Protei in Bangalore and had a lot of positive response, in particular from game developers and mobile app developers that are very excited about Protei being used as an augmented reality networking game. Can you imagine? A regatta of Protei boats equipped with android phones, controlled via the web browser with real-time video feedback racing, collaborating to solve complex real-world issues! Having fun while collecting environmental data? Earning money from clean up in the water while playing, well that’s rather exciting to the people we met and to us.

Protei in Kochi Kerala India

India has a great entrepreneur movement and huge number of environmental issues. Can we pair these two together?

I found fiberglass, resin, wood, glue, plastic, microspheres and many other supplies to build more prototypes.
forbiden access
Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to get this fabrication supply on board. That was painful to spend so many days looking for these chemicals, parts, materials and not being allowed. Cannot wait to have our own workshop on land, manufacture Protei and come back to India where Protei is so needed! Good bye India, we’ll see each other again soon!

20130301 Yangon, Myanmar

Let’s go straight to the point. Shwedagon pagoda is exquisite. The entire country seems to conspire to be a heaven for photographers.
The video above was made by our video Unreasonable Media team.

Visiting Yangon, Burma / Myanmar

Visiting Yangon, Burma / Myanmar
Where in the world do you get to see more gold? More delicate and intricate craftsmanship?

Visiting Yangon, Burma / Myanmar
As many buddhas?

Visiting Yangon, Burma / Myanmar
The visitors, mostly families, create an atmosphere that is so casual. Religion is really daily life.

Visiting Yangon, Burma / Myanmar
A giant architectural complex that keeps growing, where prayers and the sound of hammers are in harmony.

Visiting Yangon, Burma / Myanmar

The streets of Yangon are busy. The country just opened. It is hard to find an ATM, there are only a few of them in the entire country at this point. More than half of the women and men are wearing traditional cloth and many wear the Thanaka (face paint).

What will the beauty of Myanmar become? Will it protect its traditions or will walk in the steps of Vietnam or China, a race towards “progress”. It is hard to say. But the fever for modernity is not yet felt in the streets of Yangon.

One cannot ignore how much Myanmar has been suffering until very recently. Watching this film will certainly not give you the full picture, but I was touched by it. I recommend you watch it. I wonder what Myanmar will become in the years to come. It will change a  lot. You must remember at least one name: Aung San Suu Kyi.

Visiting Yangon, Burma / Myanmar

You do need to get off the ship to see that Burma is exporting wood. A lot of wood. Maybe loggers are in a rush before policy changes announced for 2014. In the mean time it is a very good business, They are loading wood in large ship night and day for export. The image underneath is a panoramic view from the ship.

Protei in Burma / Myanmar

We were happy not to find pressant aquatic struggles in Myanmar, which is a good thing. Deforestation data suggests that the removal of trees is slowly starting to impact water quality yet industrialisation seems not to affect significantly the country. Let’s stay vigilant and hopeful for graceful Myanmar :)

20130227 Unreasonable at Sea: An Update From Cesar Harada of Protei on Young Entrepreneur .com

20130228 Unreasonable at Sea on Young

Great article thanks to Kristin Luna.

Editor’s Note: This post marks the second in a short series we’re featuring on the Unreasonable at Sea program. Check out the first installment “Entrepreneurs Take on the World — By Cruise Ship“ 

Call it an aquatic update.

It’s been six weeks since the mobile-accelerator program Unreasonable at Sea set sail on the MV Explorer for a four-month trip around the world, and as we promised, we’re checking in with our intrepid entrepreneurs. First up is Cesar Harada of Protei, who dropped us a line as he was departing Singapore.

Through Protei, Harada hopes to make an open-source sailing robot, or drone, that cleans up environmental waste. But he still has major challenges, which he hopes to tackle throughout the voyage. Not only is he aiming to crack the engineering puzzle that is building a shape-shifting hull, he wants to create a global community that develops the technology. He’ll also need to fine tune his technology, which has multiple applications — from cleaning up oil spills to plastic pollution and more.

“It is hard to think of a better place as the middle of the ocean with some of the world’s most notable entrepreneurs to reinvent how technology can connect us back with the environment in a meaningful and sustainable way,” he says.

Related: The 3D Printing Craze Hits Young Entrepreneurs

Thus far, the CEO and his colleague Gabriella Levine have visited Hawaii, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and they’re currently are in Burma. Given Harada’s Japanese heritage — and the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that spurred a level seven nuclear crisis, the worst since Chernobyl — he was most eager to revisit his roots and start to apply his technology, which can also be used to clean up radioactivity.

“Half of my family lives in Niigata, and I was horrified [when the tsunami hit]. Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated,” he recalls.

When the Unreasonable ship docked in Japan, Harada and his team built underwater radioactivity sensors in Tokyo. They then drove to Fukushima and immersed the instrument at the border of the exclusion zone to measure significant amounts of radioactivity on the seabed.

Related: Limor Fried on Making DIY Look Easy

They also were able to meet with FuRo (Future Robotics Laboratory of Chiba University) that provides TEPCO, Japan’s national energy company, with “Quince,” the remotely-operated robot that was sent inside the damaged reactor for remote sensing and operations. “We are now integrating FuRo Electronics in Protei design and hope to come back as soon as we possibly can to deploy a fleet of Protei in Fukushima surrounding waters,” Harada says.

The community environment that the academic host company Semester at Sea fosters has been beneficial to Protei’s development, notes Harada. The term “We’re in the same boat” has taken on a whole new meaning, he adds. “We share meals. We work together. We celebrate our small victories together. We cheer each other up in hard moments.”

He’s also learning more about himself. “I like people, but it’s actually hard for me to really like people — until this trip,” says Harada. I usually focus on work. Yet, I’ve connected quite intensely with the mentors and the organizers.” The program also boasts 50 faculty members and 600 Semester at Sea students, with whom the traveling treps interact.

Related: Crisscrossing the Globe In the Name of Entrepreneurship

While prior to the voyage, Harada was focusing on Japan, it’s China that may have proven most impactful to Protei’s future so far. “We found amazing manufacturing partners in Shenzhen. We have seen that our technology is relevant for environmental measurement there, and we have found a place where we can scale Protei production.”

Following the voyage’s completion in May, Harada now plans to relocate Protei from his native Paris to Shenzhen, one of the world’s centers for electronic manufacturing.

Kristin Luna is a Nashville-based journalist who has written travel and news features for Newsweek, Forbes, Redbook, Self and countless others, as well as several guidebooks for Frommer’s. Kristin previously sailed with Semester at Sea in 2011 as the assistant field office coordinator. You can follow her global exploits via her award-winning blog Camels & Chocolate.


20130216 BBC : Entrepreneurs on a trip around the world

2010227 BBC-News

Original post and video :

25 February 2013 Last updated at 22:23 ET
A group of entrepreneurs have taken to the high seas for a trip around the world in 100 days.
Embarking from San Diego in the US, they’ll go from port to port including Shanghai, Bangalore and Rangoon.
At each place they hope to raise money from investors and scale up their businesses.
Thanks to Saira Syed who joined them for part of their trip.

20130107 Day 1. Departure

There are some moments that are too beautifully strange to be described with words.

20130108getting onb board of MV explorer
Snapshot. It is 3 AM and I am playing basketball alone on top of one of the world fastest and most hygienic boat in the world, cruising speed between San Diego California and Ensenada in Baja California, Mexico.

20130108getting onb board of MV explorer
Screenshot. My name is Cesar Harada, 29, I am an Unreasonable at Sea Entrepreneur. With my colleague Gabriella Levine, we got on board of the MV Explorer, for a 106 days sailing journey around the world with 10 other entrepreneurs that want to change the world, 20 world class mentors, 50 scholars, 600 american students to sail across 14 countries.

Thanks for joining the voyage! I will do my best to document the journey and share with you this privileged experience. This trip will be translated in several languages, thanks to a magnificent crew of volunteers translators : Thank you! We have just boarded, and we haven’t started to work yet. I will explain discussions, people, places, work as it develops over the next few days. The last days have been intense, and “now” feels more surreal than ever before. To understand bit more what’s happening, let’s rewind the last 72 hours :

20130108getting onb board of MV explorer
Vancouver – Los Angeles – San Diego. A few hour ago, I was in the sky, in the narrow cabin of a 4 seat wide plane, flying above mega cities, distracted inspecting my wound.

Ooops butchered myself. 8 stitches please :)

A few hours earlier, I injured myself quite badly. As I brought a large wooden box for FedEx, I was asked – very last minute – to reduce the size of the wood crate I had just made. Working with a new and sharp wood saw just outside of FedEx in the dark and cold  streets of Vancouver Canada, I simply butchered myself. In my bad luck, I am always the luckiest : the husband of my girlfriend’s best friend is a doctor, he decorated me with 8 pretty stitches above my left hand thumb tendons.

Protei_010 shipping from Vancouver, Canada

This is the box, containing 3 – in progress- prototypes of Protei, the Open Hardware Shape Shifting Sailing Robot. Too big to travel with me, the box is being transported to Hilo Hawaii where we will pick it up in a few days as we cross the Pacific Ocean.
Protei_010 shipping from Vancouver, Canada

We will use these prototypes to demo our technology. At sea for the next few months we will be developing both the technology and the business strategy for Protei technology.

It is now 5 AM, everyone is asleep, everything is vibrating as our 1000 passengers boat gently rolls. I am sitting in the cantine of the ship, our vessel is moving fast, cutting steadily through the steamy waters. This is the beginning of an amazing journey. Sore eyes, and brutal expectations.

Let’s be Unreasonable in all languages around the world !!!

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 ““. 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 :, 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.

Protei around the world

I made these images to Promote Protei world tour with the Unreasonable at Sea :)
January to April 2013, Protei will sail all around the world and show up in these places. 2013 is going to be more than amazing for Protei and the Ocean.

Protei in San Diego

Protei in Hilo, Hawaii

Protei in Kobe, Japan

Protei in Shanghai

Protei in Singapore


Protei in Rangoon, Burma

Protei in Cochin, India

Protei in Port Louis, Mauritius

Protei in Cape Town, South Africa

Protei in Accra, Ghana

Protei in Casablanca, Morrocco

Protei in Barcelona, Spain

Protei in London, UK

Protei in Paris, France

Protei in New York, USA

Protei in San Francisco, USA

Protei in Berlin, Germany

Protei in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Protei in Oslo, Norway

Protei in Saint Malo, Britany, France

I made those images to be part of our sponsorship proposal (download here 8Mb). We are now looking for sponsors for Protei for 2013.
You can see and comment our version 20121106 here :
If you know someone, or a some big companies that could become Protei’s sponsors – please tell me, or even better, introduce me :



Unreasonable at Sea: The Epic Documentary

The incredible story of 11 brilliant tech companies circumnavigating the globe, attempting to solve the greatest problems of our time.
An Unreasonable Introduction: Hello, we are Unreasonable Media and we are not your standard production company. We are dedicated, blindly and exclusively, to leveraging the power of story-telling to shift paradigms and solve problems. We have a world-class team of over-caffeinated filmmakers, graphic designers, composers, photographers, cinematographers, audio engineers, writers, and producers. The common thread throughout our team of misfits and craftsmen is that we all feel at home when working at the convergence of story telling, film, impact, and entrepreneurship.We invite you to change the world with us by getting involved in our campaign.


The Official Unreasonable At Sea Documentary Poster

The Official Unreasonable At Sea Documentary Poster

Unreasonable at Sea Documentary Badge/StampUnreasonable at Sea Documentary Badge/Stamp

Personalized post card sent from a surprise destination along our voyage.

Personalized post card sent from a surprise destination along our voyage.