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Protei by Cesar Harada on BBC Horizon 2013
This is a rough cut of the BBC program, keeping only what’s about Openness and Protei or Cesar Harada. Great thanks to Graham Strong, all the BBC team , Toni Nottebohm for allowing some of her material to be shared, all the Protei team in the video and Tom Higgs. Also below a related article.

Is Tomorrow’s World an Open Source one?

Last week BBC’s Horizon put out a special episode looking at the next generation of technological advances. Two of the stories they reported caught my eye as they suggest that the future of innovation lies in an open way of working.

Liz Bonnin Horizon BBC

Liz Bonnin presented the show from one of The Science Museum’s storage hangers. Photo Credit:BBC

The first story looked at the work of Professor Bob Langer at MIT.  Professor Langer has received the Draper Prize and National Medal of Science for his work in biomedical engineering.  Langer’s approach to research is to bring experts from a range of fields together to create an interdisciplinary team.

Previous approaches to designing medical devices were designed by doctors based on existing materials.  Langer sought to design new materials to operate inside the body and be safely absorbed once their job was done.  To make this possible he assembled a team including engineers, chemists, neurosurgeons, pharmacologists and a number of other disciplines.

The approach of applying one expert’s knowledge to the problem posed in another’s primary field has many parallels with open innovation, and led to advances never thought possible by those working in single fields.

The second story reported on the Protei project which we heard about recently at Open Source Junction.  Protei was founded by Cesar Harada, and seeks to produce sailing drones which can be used to clean up oil spills.

Harada released his initial designs online and set out forming a community of scientists and engineers to collaborate on the project. Supported by a kickstarter campaign, over $33,000 dollars were raised allowing him to hire a work shop and invite his community to work together on the open hardware project.

The programme then focused on the contrast between the model of inventors patenting an invention which Harada characterised as “good for the manufacturer but not very good for the people”, to the “new culture of openness” shaping what we invent.

One comment that piqued my interest came from Gia Milinovich, who spoke of a “tension between the open source movement and business”, and a “battle between these two worlds”.  While this paints an exciting picture for a science documentary, I think the language used here was slightly disingenuous.

While we hear of stories where one company attacks another company who backs an open source project, these bear little distinction from companies litigating against each other over issues with no relation to open source. It’s fortunately very rare that we see a “battle” between a business and an open source community, and the examples of this are greatly outstripped by the examples where the two work together in harmony, indeed furthering one another’s goals.

Designer Wayne Hemingway then described how he “loved the idea” of an environment with no patents and no copyright, which while certainly a valid goal doesn’t do well to represent the way open source works.  The most common open source licences all at least require that the the original author be credited for their work, which in a copyright-free world wouldn’t be enforceable.

These criticisms aside, It’s great to see open source and open hardware getting airtime from a mainstream broadcaster like this.

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.

Towards an Open Hardware license for Marine Technologies


Today I met with Andrew Katz, Intellectual property lawyer from the UK and notorious in the Open Hardware world.
Open-H2O is a community that “develops open technologies to explore and protect the oceans”, so naturally, as any technology generating organisation we need to define the terms, conditions and limitations attached to the technology we document and publish. We found that no existing license was covering our needs so I (Cesar Harada) have been working since 2010 (Open Hardware Summit where the Open Hardware License 1.0 was collectively edited) to refine the type of license that would allow us to work best together.  This will be version 1.0, when Open-H2O, Protei or anyone interested in making this license progress are ready to invest time, money or put work into this, we will develop it further versions. The other idea is also to contribute to the Open Hardware movement and community, proposing improvements and testing them. The functions of this new license would be multiple :

  • allow inventors, scientist, engineers, makers, to develop open technologies, making sure these technologies remain permanently open for environmental and social good, for commercial and non-commercial applications without royalties, commission or fixed / incremental license fee.
  • make sure that the author remains the author once licensed (correctly credited), but the technology becomes officially available to the world (documentation shared with the technology licensee = the community = Open-H2O website).
  • protect technology generated by the Open-H2O from potential legal attacks, fraud or abuse of the technology by other groups.
  • a common license to act as a currency, or common asset to both non-profit Open-H2O and corporation Protei INC to trade services and information. The license would then attract similar open technologies for the ocean and grow this community.

These are notes from our meeting to the address of the Open_H2O community scrutiny, before the next phase which will be to feedback on the draft of this licence Jan 4th 2013. If you want to have an input on the Open-H2O license, please do comment below before Jan 4th 2013.

The main amendments we have talked about so far are :

a. Extending the license from the DOCUMENTATION towards covering more of the TECHNOLOGY (overlapping with patent function). Regardless, the required documentation that comes with the technology needs to be listed. Documentation is key.

b. Exclusion of liability : specific to maritime use (location and legislation of international waters, underwater).

c. Trademark use : “this license does not grant use of a trademark policy” or such simple article should suffice – we would have a separate trademark policy. Practically that means that everyone can use the TECHNOLOGY but we can decide what is NAMED “Protei” (trademark). For instance drug dealers, or military may use the technology, we cannot oppose that use, but we want to be able to forbid them use our name with it. Having a control on the trademark can also allow us to control the allocation of serial numbers to technology versions and individual machines ie : Protei_010_00045 (Protei technology version 10, machine number 45) or Protei_20121218a (Protei machine completed the Dec 18th of 2012, defining state of the art).

d. ShareAlike : Anyone using the technology or documentation needs to license the work using our license Open Hardware H2O.

e. Ability to update the license : “GPL 2.0 or later” to allow users to have their license stay up to date, and permit administrator to improve the document without having to make user sign every time the changes in the terms and conditions.

I am already adding these suggestion for his consideration :

f. Environmental Clause : in case of loss of technological equipment at sea, the users / operators of the machines are fully responsible. Same if the machine is no longer consider a machine but marine litter, users / operators are still responsible of disposal / recycling.

g. Registered license : We love the model of Creative Commons license in which anyone can CHOOSE a license from the different options straight from the website. We want our license to be as easy to access, but we want them to be able to fill a similarly simple form, that we keep a record of. This way Open-H2O builds a REGISTRY of who is using the Open Hardware H2O license, the community grows, and we can more effectively protect them as they are also registered on our end, with a date, description and required documentation. This doesn’t have to be in the license, but can make the license a lot more effective in the case of litigation, Open-H2O supporting the licensee a little bit like the patent office would.

I am very looking forward form comments and feedback before Jan 4th.

Open Hardware for the Environment ~ PhD Thesis

Cesar Harada is currently candidate for a PhD, writing on  “Open Hardware for the Environment” at Goldsmiths University of London, Design & Environment department, under the supervision of Prof Jennifer Gabrys.
Protei, the International_Ocean_Station and are the 3 main components of this research.

<Cesar> This page will host the abstract, table of content and link to the subpages of the thesis.
Research notes (+“PhD” tag), paragraphs, chapters, papers will be published on this website as blogposts and eventually compiled in a traditional academic format for journal publication and peer reviewing. I will often publish drafts posts, interact with comments and come back to edit/improve my posts. I intend to use a markup language I have developed in previous pieces of writing, I called AcademiXML (inspired from LaTeX and XML).</Cesar>





Open Hardware for the Environment

Table of content / Outline

Open Hardware for the Environment
Environmental Monitoring system
International Ocean Station


Open Hardware for the environment
Practice based investigation
Oceans as field
Approach : hands-on iterative, fast cycle innovation, bio-mimicry, Design & Artificial Selection.


Legal : Intellectual Property combination
Art : vision
Design : conditions
Engineering : means
Science : findings
Environmental Applications


A practice-based part-time PhD.
Cultural background.
What is at stakes : why we need Open Hardware to address Environmental issues today?
History of the mouvement  : the maker and the Environmentalist movement convergence.
Places & Cultures  : Northern America, South America, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia, Oceania.
Communities & Focuses : Social Networks, Energy, Water, Food, Sanitation, Transport…
Entrepreneurship & Non Profit Development : Sustainable business Development & Community Management strategies : networks, blocks, herds, nodes, wet networks…
Open Hardware Heros : Figures of the movement.
Open Hardware development strategies.
A research built around my personal investigation.

Personal Story and motivation

Father : Shinto, hands-on approach
Mother : Story telling, and social networks
Brother : Politics and ethics

Investigation Method : Hands on iterative method.

Art and Science : A thin line
Professional and amateur. 2 cults to the same god.
The tools of collaboration :
Internet x workshop
Social Media, influence, character building
Buzz words, branding and network of influence.
Environment monitoring and cleaning system
Protei + The International Ocean Station + Open-H2O Chapters

Experiences commented

== MIT ==
The urge to update a
method of investigation (hands-on iterative, thinking by prototyping and testing)
intellectual property (open Source)
financial (crow-funded)
technology thinking (shinto)
Revenue Model (profit + Non-profit)

== Gulf of Mexico ==
genesis of the project

== Japan ==

== San Francisco, Summer 2012 ==

== Unreasonable at Sea ==



Shape Shifting Sailing Robot to sense and clean the Ocean.


Manned floating laboratory for Ocean Exploration.

Ocean Data Infrastructure & Open-H2O Community.

Ethics & Practical implications of running an Open Hardware project for the Environment

Process Notes

Going from a volunteer informal R&D group to a funded international non-profit community (Open-H2O) and a small manufacturing business (
Savannah Ocean Exchange
2008 : Open-Sailing up
2009 : Open-Sailing Down after Ars Electronica
2010 : Open-Sailing up
2011 : Protei within Open-Sailing
2012 : Open-Sailing becomes Open-H2O
Open-H20 and Protei separates
Motivation to separate the community in a non-profit and for profit entity.


Intellectual property
Retail cost
Speed of development & Decision
Revenue model
Public Vs Private information and timing
On a thin line
Budgeting and prioritizing
Area of expertise
Organisation structure
Ownership and Decision making process
Valuation and shares, capital
Value of the community
Growing social networks and the importance of social media for crowd sourcing
Crowd sourcing R&D and minimizing structural expense
Ethics, Accountancy and the Meritocratic model.
Ethics : 1. Environment, 2. People, 3. Technology, 4. Profit
Transparent accountancy
Meritocratic model
Lean Structure
Work items
Value allocation
Rating system

Towards a Consortium

Private (individual)
Corporates (companies)
Academic (universities)
Governmental (countries)
Intergovernmental (Agreements and international funds)

Conclusion : the need of open hardware technology

Future of Open Hardware for the Environment


Social Architecture
Social Network and crowd funding
Controlling complex network with a minimum number of nodes
Research and Influence, qualitative and quantitative.


Author / Sources
Annexes / Downloads



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.

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