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20130425 The Unreasonable Journey of an Entrepreneur Sailing Around the World

Landing

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. 

Technology

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.

Business

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…

Community

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.

Personal

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 !

Custom PROTEI HACKATHON Website : protei.org/hackathon
Facebook Event : https://www.facebook.com/events/592168350801583

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”.

SUMMARY
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


INSTRUCTEURS

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.

 

PROGRAMME 

  • 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. http://goo.gl/maps/Z5opH
  • 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.

 

RESPONSABILITE CIVILE | LICENSE | DROIT A L’IMAGE

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.
INSCRIPTION OBLIGATOIRE :https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1HPJYWniY3YFLlcMmlz-2puLsYvO-QKSnlToYnfX0VIs/viewform
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

 

20130414 Protei customer definition, big lesson of marketing by Jeff Hoffman

Jeff Hoffman

Jeff Hoffman

With Gabriella Levine, we had the amazing luck to have Jeff Hoffman who “is a serial entrepreneur in the internet, technology, and entertainment industries. He has founded, co-founded, and been the CEO of numerous start-ups and larger companies, and has led his companies through acquisitions and public offerings (Priceline.com, uBid.com, CTI, and others).” Jeff told us that many people have great ideas, what really makes a difference is the execution, but more precisely the targeting of the customer. Who will buy? At what price? What kind of quantity? When? How? These are critical questions that change over the lifetime of a product and keeps changing as the technology improves, the cost fluctuates depending on the supply – demand balance and the marketing and distribution strategies.

We had for Jeff  these 2 main requests :

  1. Help us narrow down our customer target
  2. Help us “choreograph” the timing in the pricing and product / technology development

 

Put the client in the room

Put the customer in the room

Jeff’s first advice was to literally put the client in the room. So we did! We drew a life-size client in the room who would be writing either a bank check (yes!!!) or a “fail” sign (no!!!). Having the client in the room helps you answer these hard questions. The client should be there at every stage of decision. We called our client “William” and quickly we realised that William would not be our (only) client in reality, if our client at all. So… we realised that we would quickly  see a “fail” sign if we were not more thoughtful here. So… who is Protei’s client?

 

Who will buy Protei? At what price? In what kind of quantity? How?

In search of the customer

Jeff told us that most entrepreneurs would say that “the entire world would buy their products” (by year 4, more than 50% startups would die btw), but since it is impossible to target the entire world, it is a wise idea to target as precisely as possible to start with. Jeff said “Think big, act small“. The people would buy / use Protei come in many different color sizes and flavours (from left to right) :

  1. Humanitarian user: someone who’s life depends on the data / clean up work produced by Protei. This user is hard to reach, has very limited resource and needs a very highly performing product. Even if this potential user makes the greatest use of Protei technology we may not be able to serve this user immediately since our technology is so new and untested. 
  2. Kid: Kids are great users, they want a product that is easy and fun to play with, it has to be cheap and robust, plug and play and we can sell in great quantity, but few parents are ready to put a lot of money on expensive toys.  
  3. Hobbyist: Hobbyists are great because they love novelty, they are patient to receive their order they have passed on-line, they tend to be very dedicated to assemble, test, document their activities and give us feedback on-line.
  4. Hacker / Maker: want a product that is modular and extendable to modify and run their own experiences on the product as platform. They tend to be very good at tinkering and sometimes good at documenting and sharing their improvements with the community.
  5. Ocean Scientists: are our ultimate target as they are the one that serve the highest goal of Protei that is to explore and protect the ocean. That’s what we want to turn kids, hobbyists and hackers into: active advocates, data-producers and ocean-cleaners. Now Ocean Scientists in academia and institutes generally do not purchase machines and instruments with their own money, they would carve out part of their lab budget to buy Protei. What ocean scientists need is reliability and extendability since often times, the instruments they will put inside will add up to be much more costly than Protei itself. So, interestingly, if ocean scientists may not make the biggest volume of sales, we want their technical needs to drive the evolution of Protei.
  6. Sailors: We have sailors (of real large boats) but they are falling very much in the hobbyist category when it comes to operate a 1 meter long Protei. 
  7. Industrial: this is where most revenue may come from in the future but currently the technology is not mature enough to market Protei. These guys are willing to put big money for industrial applications but they need industrial 100% reliable results.
  8. Military: big money surely, but that is not our culture and not what we want Protei to be developed for. 

We decided :

  • GREENOur target for MARKETING = Hobbyist / hacker! This is where the greatest volume of sales can be achieved, determining the packaging, channels of marketing and distribution (mostly on-line distribution).
  • RED: Our target for QUALITY = Ocean Scientist! We want Protei to be used for ocean science and collect ocean data, so we need to know more from our “golden user” the ocean scientist that will drive product and technology development. 

Product evolvability : in short that means that we will market a product aimed at hobbyists and hackers that would be easily upgradable to be used for ocean science.

Redefine Product with a user-centric lens

Protei Customer wants

Now we know who is our target market (Hobbyist / hacker) we take in consideration what they want in GREEN, they want to have fun:

  • 1. Easy to use
  • 2. Affordable

Right after which comes the requirments of our quality target (Ocean Scientist) in RED, they want reliability:

  • 3. Robust
  • 4. Modular, Extendable

so they can install all sorts of ocean sensor on the sailing robot.
This is a user-centric approach that redefines our product agenda and development strategy.
Very different from the engineering, scientific or intuitive / artistic approach we had so far. It was more than time to do this.

 

Ranking

Customer profiling

We made the assumption that different buyers would buy a device at a very different price (with different features of course) :

  • $1 : Humanitarian user (subsidised)
  • $250 : kid (parents paying)
  • $700 : hobbyist
  • $500 : hacker
  • $1000 : ocean scientist (using lab budget)
  • $700 : Sailor
  • $5000 : Foundation
  • $7000 : Industrial

Empirical criteria ranked on a scale of /100 :

  • Pricing: at which we can sell each machine depending on the client profile (above)
  • Promotion: satisfied clients are our best representatives / evangelists. Especially at the beginning, influence might matter more than pricing or even volume of sales. 
  • Improve and share: Protei is Open Hardware that means that we actually invite people to use (copy), modify and distribute our technology for free. We’re asking in return to be credited but most importantly we’re requiring our community to contribute to improve the technology. So our  customers are really our R&D department, we treat them as our most precious collaborators. 
  • Contribute data sets: We may have few sales to ocean scientists, gathering data, analysing them is going to be what adds the most value to our sailing platform for remote sensing
  • Accessibility: How easy it is for us to reach our clients? That’s totally subjective, that’s our social networks, the people we like to talk to, the people who like us. 
  • Ease of Production / expectations: Industrial users have extremely high expectation and even if they are willing to pay a high price it will take us a long time to meet their expectation. Kids just want to play, it is much easier to produce for them. Hobbyist / hackers / ocean scientists are the most likely to tinker and to be satisfied with an alpha product
  • Ease of delivery: where are we located? Are there high tax / regulation / compliance on imports in the country for the application envisioned? Is the country we’re trying to work with politically unstable, suffering corruption?  

These different factors allow us to carve out the potential each client profile have for us. That’s the yellow line.
Next is to roughly estimate how many Protei boats we can sell to each of these potential client. That’s the red line.
So now we multiply the yellow line by the red line and obtain the sales potential per client profile. That’s not an accurate technique in any way, but that’s fast and easy helping us find out who gains the most value from our product VS what’s the sales opportunity for us.

For Protei at the current stage, the rank for potential revenue from sales would be :

  1. Industrial: scoring the highest because that’s where we can make the biggest marging, but the technology is not ready for that yet. 
  2. Hobbyist: that’s the immediately most accessible market
  3. Sailor: same as hobbyist as they are passionate about sailing and willing to invest money in their passion
  4. Foundation: they would finance buying many units at the same time but they are quite hard to get
  5. Kids: as we come on the market, we want to build a brand culture that is welcoming for kids but that’s more aimed at ocean scientists
  6. Ocean Scientist: our favourite user but almost smallest group!
  7. Hacker: “hyper-technological-human-anomaly”, but oh so valuable ;)
  8. Humanitarian user: the one that personally needs our technology the most that is also the hardest to get to and serve.

volume of sales by customer profiles

This research is highly valuable since it tells us that extreme users – that we expect to represent a minority of our clients – are the one that are driving technology development even if they rank very low in our sales  potential. I think this is not unusual, and crucial for us to aknowledge who are the most valuable (in volume) and/or influential buyers / makers of our products. That also tells us that we need to fight to get to industrial users as fast as possible.

 

Strategy & Marketing, to reach our goals of sales and cultural growth

Meeting with Jeff Hoffman

Now we know the quality we want to achieve (ocean science), and we know the target client (hobbyist), how are we going to orchestrate our sales?
As our customers are our R&D , our community for a Open Hardware technology, we cannot stress enough how determinant it is for us to be intentional about how we set the right culture (hands-on, hacking for ocean science) around our product depending on who are going to be our first users.

  1. $1000: Early adopters, setting a culture. Ocean Scientist. We want our first users to be hackers – ocean scientists. They are a minority of power users, that will be our star-testers, tinkering and driving with us the development of this new technology.
  2. $700: Quality UP, Price DOWN! Hobbyist,  sailors. Driven by our small but high-profile community, we can improve the technology and deliver a second generation of machine with many more features as a kit. Basically it would be a version with more sensors, more powerful electromecanics, more processing and communication range etc. As a reminder, even if $700 could sounds like a lot, it would actually be a very good price for a sailing robot that could be made autonomous with a suitable embed intelligence and sensors.
  3. $500: sustainability and growth. Hackers.  $500 retail price is the current average price for a basic 1 meter long RC sailboat. For that price, I believe we should be able to build a very robust sailing robot fully fitted with sensors and an android powered CMU on board. That kind of price and high quality for value should satisfy the greatest volume of customers while being a powerful and extendable platform for science for a while.
  4. $250: Democratize! Kids. Once our technology has been validated by a small (read manageable) but highly qualified core group that would have contributed design and code improvement, it would be time to broaden the diversity of customers. We should open to a large volume of sales also after we have built a robust and scalable data infrastructure to welcome. The dream is “Science instrument at the cost of toy!”.
  5. Kits: customise your product. As an Open hardware company, we pride ourselves to be transparent and offer our clients to buy the parts they want and assemble the boat they dream of. From travelling around the world and talking to potential clients, it became very clear that Protei would be one product in our catalog and that even the internal components of Protei could be used for many other sailing robots designs. At this point we will diversify our offer and empower the community of makers that want to explore and protect the oceans like we do.

From making this one day research we learnt enormously about our sales strategy, and how we intend to building our community and culture around products that they would love and invest in. Thanks a lot Jeff Hoffman for this great lesson!

20130420 Promoting Protei Hackathon Morocco April 20th

Protei hackathon in Morocco

Protei is coming to Morocco !!!
With a Massive Hackathon !!!!
It will take place Saturday April 20th all day, we are looking for a location – so apologies for the french – english mix below.
Protei in partnership with SaharaLabs / Tarfaya Hackerspace / Thalassa / Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship – Moroccan CISE

————————————–

Francais
Venez fabriquer des robots a voile basés sur micro-controller Arduino, Raspberry π, servo-motors, DC moteur et autre senseurs pendant une journée inoubliable d’électromécanique, de code, de test dans l’eau, 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 (technologie libre et gratuite).
Protei 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.
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, Ancien 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 (Marocco): Fondateur de SaharaLabs / Tarfaya Hackerspace, premier hackerspace au Maroc.

————————————–

English
Come for a 1-day intense hands-on workshop we will build remote-controlled sailing robot based on arduino microcontroller, raspberry π, servo-motors, DC geared motors, and the available parts. We will build boat hulls, mast, rudders, sew sails, assemble electronics, write code, build circuits, test-sail our boats the water, and document it online. While doing so, we will also discuss some of the concepts of DIY & open hardware movement.
Protei is an Open Hardware Shape Shifting Sailing Robot to explore and clean the oceans. In order to address the scale and complexity of the issues in the ocean – Oil Spills, Plastic pollution, radioactivity, overfishing, Coral reef mapping, red tides and climate change- we must develop scalable, hence, Open technologies.
The hands-on workshop open to experts and beginners will be facilitated by :
Cesar HARADA (France-Japan): Inventor of the Protei Shape-shifting system, Ex MIT Project leader, TED Fellow.
Gabriella LEVINE (USA) : Hardware Designer & Hacker, Top women in Tech (Adafruit), Master from ITP Tisch New York
El Wali El Alaoui (Marocco): Founder of SaharaLabs / Tarfaya Hackerspace, first hackerspace in Morocco.

————————————–

Nous cherchons un espaces avec ces critères suivants:
  1. pour 50 personnes, tables, chaises
  2. proximité de l’eau (lac, grande piscine, mer)
  3. electricité, Internet
  4. capacité de faire de la poussiere et travailler tard le soir

Vous connaissez un tel endroit?

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

http://www.humanipo.com/news/4889/Protei-announced-as-SAP-winner-on-SA-shore

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

http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/19/halfway-through-its-100-day-voyage-checking-in-with-the-unreasonable-at-sea-startup-ship/

20130320 Daniel Epstein on Tech Cruntch

By COLLEEN TAYLOR

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.
Team MOBME

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.
Source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2008/06/28/putrid-rivers-of-sludge.html

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 Entrepreneur.com

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 : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21583593

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.

20130128 Protei meets Japanese translator Midori !

Meeting with Midori Katagiri, Japanese translator, THANK YOU !!!!

In Tokyo we had the luck of meeting with Japanese translator Midori Katagiri ! How amazing was it to meet the one that shares our adventures to so many friends and family members ! Midori is one of my closest friend in Japan, the daughter of my father’s best friend. So close I call Midori my cousin :) Midori is a talented painter that lives in Niigata, in the north of Japan, but she studied in London and worked in Paris for some time at the Cite Internationale des Arts.

Wonderful presents from my wonderful family in Japan!

We went for diner at her little sister Azusa near Yoyogi, had delicious gyoza only to remind me this moment last summer : in TechShop in San Francisco (photo above). The mother of Midori, Naomi had sent me a box full of Japanese snacks and delicacies. My big table at TechShop was covered with Japanese food, jealous eyes all around ;p

THANK YOU SO MUCH MIDORI-SAN FOR TRAVELLING WITH US !!!

20130120 Community, company and personal goals, preparing smart goals for Japan

Carly Cooper : Community, company and personal goal

Quoting her father “An idea without a plan is just a wish”.

We talked of how we can make the Unreasonable Community, our company and personal objectives converge and support each other. Also anticipating how we think our plans might fail, and work on preventing that from happening, transforming risks into opportunities. This was an exercise but really was extremely useful. From a blog reader point of view, this might sound extremely corporate but I think will benefit anyone to understand how we take our decisions along this voyage.

Our Unreasonable Community goals

Unreasonable Community Goals

Each company was asked 3 goals they have for the whole voyage. Interestingly, each company is looking for something rather different from others.

 

Our Company goals for the voyage

A : Business and strategy. How to have the biggest environmental and  market impact. That’s work we have to produce.

These are Protei goals while at Unreasonable :

1. Product : getting a precise idea of the product we will mass manufacture.
2. Commercial website to sell Protei.
3. Community website to centralise information about our technology, community and license.
4. Marketing communication : reaching out.
5. Business Strategy to make an Open Hardware for the Environment profitable / sustainable business.
6. Our organisation : explore and Understanding gobal and local demand in every port. From that : make strategic decisions answering as where to set our headquarters, R&D manufacturing, community. Our criteria for deciding where to set our headquarters would be :
IMG_6323smfx
( a. prototyping, b. manufacturing, c. access to water, d. costs of living, e. friers family, f. legal / banking / founding, g. language, h. community , networking, , inspiration, culture.)

B : Building Relationships

1. Connection to our community that will help us redefine the product and technology
2. Sponsors.
3. Partners : research, academics, non-profit
4. Manufacturing & Distribution : industroial
5. Potential Protei team members

C : Improving Protei Technology

1. build prototypes and testing them in different waters.
2. Field work : Plastic in Hawaii, radioactivity in Japan, lake pollution in India, Fisheries in Ghana, Water preservation in South Africa for example.

 

Personal goals

  1. Outline what is Open Hardware for the Environment as a sustainable and desirable business practice. Re-invent capitalism for the environment.
  2. Get to know more about the ocean and coastal residents.
  3. Build a strong relationship with my partner

 


Abby Lee : Smart Goals

Why goals?

Why is it important to set good goals?

  • It filters non-sense
  • It helps you focus on the most important. Time box things.
  • It constraint stimulates creativity

Smart Goals

  1. Specific :
  2. Measurable :
  3. Attainable : We want to make sure we can attain those goals in the space and time available.
  4. Result-Oriented : focus on results, not tasks. Focus on the goal, not on your method,  to get your impact.
  5. Time focused

Define : Protei goals before we reach Japan?

  1. Pitch. 6’40, 20 slides, 20 seconds. Rehearsed and powerful.
  2. Business documentation. 1, 2 pages to explain our technology, business, perspective and call for sponsors.
  3. Prototype : get one prototype functional to sail in in Yokohama and Tokyo Bay. Take pictures.
  4. Field work : Fukushima exploration. Visiting site, photo, measurements, local fishermen and manufacturing.
  5. Meeting Nissan
  6. Meeting Safecast
  7. Meeting with Qualcomm
  8. Meeting Tokyo University Research Lab
  9. Visit Akihabara Electric town
  10. Visit family
  11. Obtain medias coverage

Optionals (in the immediate but eventually mandatory) :

  1. Commercial and community Website
  2. Full business plan

I am sorry for the many bullet points, but we have so many things we want to achieve as a company and there is such little time. I hope this helps you understand better what the Protei team is about and what being part of a tech start up incubator is like.
I am very interested to revisit this list after important ports, see how many of our goals have been attained,  and perhaps redefine the goals.
I am now trying to make short “on the fly” blog post, that capture the energy and what’s happening right now on the Unreasonable at sea program, rather than waiting to digest the information and publish it later.

 

20130117 Sampling plastic debris in Hilo, Hawaii. Unreasonable Media Episode 2

Previous post on the same topic : http://www.cesarharada.com/20130118-hawaii-big-island-plastic-beach/

http://unreasonable.is/video/episode-2-robots-that-clean-the-oceans/

Special thanks to Dr Hank Carson, Dr Markus Eriksen and Anna Cummins, great meeting you all, and thanks for your guidance.

20130118 Hawaii Big Island : Lava tube, Jeep ride and insane Plastic Beach

Aloha Hilo

Studying Design Thinking and Unreasonable Entrepreneurship on the MV Explorer
The beauty and luxurious landscape of Hawaii big island welcomed us after a few days at sea.
I realised I became slightly anxious to come on land as the ship became our new home.
I adapted quickly to the motion of the ship and felt strongly land-sick for the first few hours in Hawaii.

Design Thinking workshop at Hilo University

Hilo University brainstorm

We had a fruitful Design Thinking session in Hilo University with big Island locals. We brainstormed with another company Evolving Technologies building low cost endoscopes. Many new creative uses of Protei, based on discussion came up. Asymmetrical hulls have been in use for a very long time in Hawaii, some early designs of Protei have been drawing inspiration directly from Hawaiians traditional boats. Another interesting information was that local schools organise every year a robotic competition, so we naturally thought building plastic collecting robots would be a smart challenge to submit and perhaps support with the Protei team.

 

Meeting with Hank Carson, Anna Cummins & Markus Erikson

Meeting with Hank Carson about Plastic Pollution, Hilo University, Hawaii

We had a great conversation with Dr Hank Carson, that explained us a little bit about his research. He showed us samples of what can be found on the beach, and the message is : “don’t buy plastic toys anymore, they are freely available at Kamilo Beach” :)

Meeting with Hank Carson about Plastic Pollution, Hilo University, Hawaii

We also played with these very cool red blocks that has been used to study the currents around the island.

We were also incredibly lucky to meet 2 other legends of the plastic gyre : Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins.
They told us about a very recent paper they published about the South Atlantic plastic gyre. You can buy the publication here.

Marcus Eriksen

Anna Cummins

Together with Levine, Carson, and Eriksen we had a detailled discussion of how plastic measurements could be improved both with new trawler designs and swarms of sailing robots such as Protei. Carson evoked an optical plankton counting so Protei could collect data instead of physical samples. Eriksen talked about his high-speed trawling devices and was very inspirational for us. Carson Suggested that if Protei was capable of carrying multiple instruments, useful information would be provided by

We are very eager to continue this conversation and contribute Protei technology to improve how we study plastic in the oceans.

 

Lava Tube and Kamilo “Plastic” Beach

Following the advice of Carson, Eriksen and the locals we met at Hilo University, we rented a Jeep and headed down south towards Kamilo Beach.

Bouncy Jeep drive from Hilo to Kamilo Beach
We had a bumpy ride, several drivers had been less lucky than ourselves :/

Collecting plastic Debris and water samples from Kamilo Beach, South of big Island Hawaii

We got stuck in the sand and volcanic rocks twice, but thanks to the experience of the film crew and hippie muscle power, we got out of trouble.

Exploring a lava Tube near Kamilo Beach, Hawaii

On our way to Kamilo Beach, we passed a large “hole” in the ground.

Exploring a lava Tube near Kamilo Beach, Hawaii

I could not manage not to explore this cavity, and soon we were exploring (for me the first ever) lava tube with our little headlamps.
One of the thing I like the least is wrapping myself in spiderwebs in dark caves in exotic locations. The questions that occur to me are “What’s the size, color, weight and poisonousness of the spider that’s crawling on my neck now?”. But it was all worth it! What an incredible space!

It took us some time to find Kamilo beach as there is no real road that leads to it. We got lost several times on lava fields but only to enjoy spectacular volcanic cliffs.
Collecting plastic Debris and water samples from Kamilo Beach, South of big Island Hawaii

After searching GPS coordinates, we finally located Kamilo Beach and witnessed the ecological horror of the infamous “plastic beach”.

Collecting plastic Debris and water samples from Kamilo Beach, South of big Island Hawaii

Some parts of the beach have simply become rainbow, with much more plastic that there is sand.

Collecting plastic Debris and water samples from Kamilo Beach, South of big Island Hawaii

We collected  sand and plastic mixed samples at 3 levels :

  1. above high-tide level
  2. intertidal zone
  3. Underwater, about 50 meters from shore.

What we also witnessed underwater a great population of little fishes, anemones, corals and sea cucumbers that seemed to be thriving in this highly polluted environment.

Collecting plastic Debris and water samples from Kamilo Beach, South of big Island Hawaii

One of the most famous picture when it comes to plastic pollution, is the picture below : a bird that probably died with his digestive system saturated and obstructed with plastic debris. We only stayed a few hours and did not find such carcass.

We also took some samples of water and applied some oil sorbent samples that we carry around to detect the trace of hydrocarbon in the seawater.

Collecting plastic Debris and water samples from Kamilo Beach, South of big Island Hawaii

We want to come back to Hawaii and collect plastic debris.

 

Prototypes received!

Finally received the 3 -in progress- prototypes and we cannot wait to get our hands dirty !

Received the package

Today,we got allocated a corner of a corridor, that will allow us to complete the prototypes. Above, the box “sleeping” above my berth. The prototypes are in good shape so prepare to see some progress on that front in the next few days ! :) Here, one of the prototypes on the sunny deck !

Prototype received

Scarfinger

Scar + 10 Days, pretty good

For those who keep asking, I removed the stitches and it’s getting better everyday. Unfortunately I have been coughing a lot lately, but it’s also getting better now thanks to the kind advices of my indian Unreasonable fellows, with honey, lemon and ginger :)

More bumpy road?

We have now left Honolulu since yesterday and the librairian has attached the books to the book shelves. Not a good sign. That means we expect large waves and agitated weather between Hawaii and Japan. We are one day behind schedule and we are now cruising fast, at about 21 knots in average. We will see land next in about 10 days. I’m excited to be on this journey with you.

Attaching the books before the storm

Until soon! Warm regards from Pago Pago timezone !