Application for 99% Alva Awards 20120404 London
Thanks to Lyn Hagan for pointing out this link.
What is your name?
What is your date of birth? (All applicants must be under 30
years of age as of March 22, 2012.)
September 16, 1983
What is your email address?
Questions : Phone ?
Answer : +44 7 853 286 216
Questions : Links that will helps us learn about you.
Questions : Applying as a group rather than an individual. List
the other members of the team.
I am applying as the Director of Protei which is a spin-off Start-up
(B-corp) of Open-H20, (non-profit) both based in the USA, San
Francisco. These 2 entities are very international by nature, I am
half-french, half-japanese, our members are in Norway, Japan,
Brazil, Netherlands, USA, UK, France, Mexico, Australia and more.
You can find us on our people page : https://sites.google.com/a/opensailing.net/protei/people
We are making a new website now so you can see who is doing what, in
real-time, an Open Hardware project management website.
Here is a list of our most active members.
- Etienne Gernez (Norway) : Academic Coordinator, Ocean Engineer
- Aurelie Vincent (France) : Strategy and Networking
- Piem Wirtz (Netherlands): Project manager & Designer
- Kasia Molga (UK, Poland) : Data Visualisation artist
- Florent Saint Clair (USA, FR) : Finances
- Gabriella Levine (USA) : Maker
- Ru Mahoney (USA) : Strategy & Planning
- Peter Keen (UK, New Zealand) : Artificial intelligence &
- Sebastian Müllauer (Germany) : Design Product
- Qiuyang Zhou (China, Denmark) : Mechanical & Electric
- Roberto Melendez (El Salvador, USA): Ocean Engineering
- Logan P Williams (USA) : Electric Engineering
- Sebastian Neitsch (Germany) : Art & Code
- François de la Taste (France) : Oil & Mechanical
- Toni Nottebohm (Spain, Germany) : Documentary Film Maker
- Aaron Guiterrez (Mexico, USA) : Architect & Community
- Julia Cerrud (Mexico, USA) : Architect & Community
- Gonzalo Tampier (Chile) : Fluid Mechanics Physician
- Zenon Chaczko (Australia, Poland) : AI and dsitributed control
- Boris Debackere (Netherlands, Belgium) : Project management
- Sey Min (Korea) : Data Visualisation & Community Organiser
- Matthew Lippincott (USA) : Light-weight Structure &
- Fiona Crabbie (UK, Norway) : Maritime Engineer
- Alvaro Takiuti (Brasil) : Ocean Engineer
- Molly Danielsson (USA) : Light-weight Structure & Citizen
- Mario Saenz (Mexico) : Architect & Visualisation
- Kissoon Eom (Korea) : Electronics & Prototyping
- Sunghun (Korea) : Electro-mechanics
- Jieun Yoo (Korea) : Designer
- Joshua Updyke (USA) : 3D and
- Tyler Survant (USA) : Architect
- Maia Anthea Marinelli (Hawaii) : Sailor & Installation
- Simon de Bakker (NL) : Electronics & Coding
- Prof Jennifer Gabrys (UK, USA) : Design Theory & Practice
- Dominic Muren (USA) : Manufacturing & Open Hardware Expert
- Sarah Jane Pell (Australia) : Underwater Expert
- Nae Morita (Japan, NL) : Project Manager
- Lisa Hyland (IR, UK) : Project Manager
- Helene Rolin (Belgium, UK) : Project Manager
- Earl Scionneaux (USA) : Music & Business
- Suzette Toledano (USA) : IP Lawyer
- Narito Harada (FR) : Environmental Lawyer
Questions : Describe the project that you are currently trying
to realize, and why it will make an impact on the world. *
Protei is a shape-shifting sailing robot developed Open Hardware. It
is a ground-breaking innovation in the science of sailing but what's
most interesting is that the applications of this technology ranges
from oil-spill cleaning, to radioactivity sensing, plastic debris
collection, study of coral reefs, monitoring fisheries and general
oceanography to name a few. We've already built 8 working prototypes
of this innovative technology : https://sites.google.com/a/opensailing.net/protei/v
We will launch our first commercial product Protei_010 during winter
2012 - 2013. We want to change how humans interact with the ocean.
== What is at stake ==
The earth is covered with than 74% of water and sea level is rising.
The world Ocean is the earth largest CO2 offsetting pump driving
climate change. More than half of the world population lives in
cities, less than 150Km away from the sea. Overfishing, we have
killed more than 80% of our large fishes. Millions of barrels of oil
spilled and other petrochemicals, agricultural run-offs, hydraulic
fracturing byproducts, heavy metals and radioactive leaks create
unprecedented stress on our ocean suffering eutrophication,
acidification, multiplying dead zones, deadly algae blooms and red
tides. Many coral reefs and wetlands are dying. We have hundreds of
millions of tonnes of plastic debris in the ocean that we keep
adding to every day. I could go on and on. Ocean issues are colossal
and determinant for the future of our specie. We have major
challenges ahead, too immense for our human hands capacity : we need
to automate many of the processes harnessing renewable energies -
wind, solar, waves - to save our ocean. Protei is part of the
solution as a new transport of instrumentation and clean-up material
== Game changing ==
By our successive prototypes we know that a bending hull provides
unmatched sailing control and permits towing very large objects at
sea with wind power. We also know that towing a long and heavy
payload stabilises a sailing robot trajectory. It is a new
technology but we will eventually master it. Oceanography is
currently a very elitist activity, that can be made more affordable.
Fishermen and sea-farers have the highest occupational mortality
rate, many operations could be done remotely, safely. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Selected_occupations_with_high_fatality_rate.png
When Protei reaches our desired specification goals, it will change
how we do oceanography and protect our oceans.
Questions : Plan of execution of the project
== General mission ==
Our mission is to "Develop and promote open source software and
hardware for ocean study, protection and enhancement." If a truly
good technology is invented, it needs to be made accessible to the
greatest number quickly, adaptable to local culture and resources.
In other words : cheap, efficient, reliable and easy to appropriate.
Intellectual Property should facilitate that instead of getting in
the way : this is why we're using Open Hardware licensing.
== Open Hardware ==
Everyone is invited to use, modify and distribute our technology for
free. In exchange, we require "Protei" to be credited and that the
improvements made are shared with the community on our website. Our
revenue model is quite common in the software industry (Open Source
Software) but is relatively new in the context of hardware
development. Several recent Open Hardware startups demonstrated the
model successful [http://vimeo.com/11407341].
I strongly believe environmental and financial benefit should be
simultaneous, also I want Protei to be the first Environmental Open
Hardware start-up to be well profitable. Our revenues are not coming
only from sales but also from operations (Cleaning, collecting data
/ samples), customer service, extensions (Sensors, batteries,
motors), byproducts (Documentation, films, books, hoodies),
consulting, collaborations. http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldworldworld/6336142167/sizes/l/in/photostream/
== Non-Profit and Profit
We have a US trademark on "Protei", and we're filling patent these
days. The IP lives in the non-profit Open-H2O. "Protei.inc" is a
spin-off of Open-H2O that uses the technology developed by the
community. This way, even if the Protei company fails or turns
"evil", we are sure the technology and the community are always
safe. The idea is to take the best of both worlds : the stability
and ethical qualities of a non-profit + the dynamism and
competitiveness of a tech startup = Open-H2O + Protei
== Community ==
Protei is a community-generated technology and Protei_006, our first
large prototype was financed through Kickstarter :
http://kck.st/hUv68A We are supported by the community, we serve the
interest of the community at large. Many other aquatic projects are
like ours are in search of :
These services will be provided by Open-H2O.org to other projects
for free, while the manufacturing, distribution, operations,
customer service, consultancy on Protei specifically would be
offered by Protei.inc
- a website to collaborate and develop their technology
Ref : http://www.instructables.com
- an Open Hardware licence to protect and share their work
Ref : http://creativecommons.org/choose/
- share the environmental data they collect (archive,
real-time, forecast data)
Ref : pachube.com/
== Prototypes and Products ==
Protei is a new technology and before we have a swarm of large
capacity sailing robots, there is quite a stretch. Cleaning up an
oil spill is an extremely difficult task and is our ultimate goal by
its complexity : a sailing robot absorbing several tons of oil in
stormy waters is no simple business. To reach that large capacity
sailing robot (6m unmanned), I have laid 4 milestones, which are our
4 key products.
- 1/ Protei 1m Remote
- 2/ Protei 1m Arduino +
- Prototype : September 2012 | Product : December 2013 |
Retail Price : 350 USD It is Protei 1m RC (above) upgraded
with Arduino and an Android powered device. A toy upgraded to
a science instrument. Aimed at education, hackers, citizen
science and established scientists. That means that from early
2013 we can start to use Protei for ocean sensing and
broadcast real-time data online. Market adoption capacity :
- 3/ Protei 6m manned
- Prototype : June 2013 | Product : May 2014 | Retail Price :
4000 USD It is basically a sailing boat with a shape-shifting
hull that a human can sail from within. I cannot wait till our
first testers lay down in a flexible torpedo-shaped boat
moving at high speed. I anticipate great commercial success
that we will invest in autonomy research. Aimed at leisure and
expert sailors, adrenaline junkies. Market adoption capacity :
- 4/ Protei 6m Arduino +
- May 2014 | Product : October 2015 | Retail Price : 10'000
USD It is Protei 6m but unmanned, "upgraded". The human on
board is replaced by batteries, motors, sensors, computer and
communication devices. High capacity carrier, it would pull a
long heavy payload that can be scientific instruments, or
clean-up materials. At that point we can start to transport
pretty much any kind of measuring device, and clean up plastic
or oil. We expect the payload that we can pull to be up to 2
tons, sailing at about 4 knots average, up to beaufort 5
(heavy weather). For ocean sensing, our target markets are
ocean science groups in both developed and developing
countries. For ocean clean-up, many being in international
waters, we're looking at interest groups from non-profits,
universities, companies to governments. Market Adoption : 500
units in the first 2 years.
So, we only need to produce 2 hulls, as both the Protei 1 and 6
meters can be upgraded for autonomy, reducing our production costs
and providing truly evolutive platforms.
You probably know about quadrocopters. They were in labs a few
decades ago. Recently they got into the toy industry and their price
dropped down dramatically as their performances exploded. Now they
are back in labs and they are favourite test platforms for the most
advanced aerospace engineering, embedded control, artificial
intelligence and swarm algorithms. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQIMGV5vtd4
We aim to provide equivalent agility for a swarm of autonomous
sailing vessels. For now, our recent prototypes are gracefully
sailing but we are moving fast. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilEkcasq6AM
== Market competitiveness ==
The figures presented are to give you an order of idea of the
anticipated performances of Protei Protei 6m Arduino + Android (in
2015) : not from measured data.
I will compare the highest performing vessel in the same category :
- Wave Glider of Liquid Robotics |VS| Protei 6m Arduino +
- Retail price : 120'000 USD |VS| 10'000 USD (Protei 12 times
- Speed : Max 2 knots |VS| Average speed projected 4 knots
(Protei more than twice faster)
- Payload : estimated 100kg |VS| 2000kg (Protei 20 times more
- Cost of payload per kg : 1200 USD/kg of payload |VS| 5 USD/kg
of payload (Protei 240 times cheaper for faster payload
- Endurance : Up to 1 year |VS| uncertain at this point
- Cost of deployment : typically from a large vessel |VS| from
the port / beach.
- Intellectual Property : patented and secret |VS| Open Hardware
and Open Source.
If we reach the specs we are looking for, Protei would really be a
radical game-changer for ocean science and clean-up.
Questions : Tell us about the past initiatives, actions, or
projects you've undertaken that qualify you to execute on the
project you described above. *
== Japanese Grand Father ==
I come from a tradition of resilient makers and entrepreneurs. My
Japanese Grand-Father was a farmer that invented himself blacksmith
during the second world war. Father of 7 children and with a bad eye
sight, he was refused as volunteer kamikaze and survived the war. He
set a metal construction factory in Niigata and built many of my
hometown industrial and earthquake resistant public buildings such
as the local train station, factories, schools, observatory etc.
== Father and local craftsmen ==
My father is Tetsuo Harada, monumental stone sculptor
[www.tetsuoharada.com]. He ran away from Japan in the 70s that he
considered too conservative and spent most of his life carving
enormous granite and marble sculptures outdoors around the world. I
assisted my father in many projects, usually many tons sculptures,
and on construction sites especially, involving power, pneumatic,
carving, polishing, lifting and welding tools, long before legal age
My parents house in Paris used to be the metal machining factory
where one of the earliest mechanical computer was built by Nathan
Prochownick after returning from the Shoah in Auschwitz. The old man
that took care of me -when my parents were busy- was an old italian
microscope maker living around the corner - that's growing up in a
blue collar area of Paris.
== Mother, computers and sailing ==
On the other side, my mother comes from a tiny french village just
by the belgian border. She worked many years in the semi-conductor
companies as marketing director (HP France). She was in the team
that introduced the credit card in France, and many other cool
technologies - back in the days. She passed me her love for high
technology, many management and communication techniques that I
still use. Because my father was working in blue granite quarries,
my family moved for some years to the presque-isle of Saint-Malo
where I had the luck to sail pretty much everything in the port. I
was born in in the south of France in Bayonne, by the Atlantic
ocean. Best surf spot in France. As far as I can remember, I always
built stuff. For my first Master degree in animation film, I build
the world smallest trimaran / bike trailer on which I travelled from
Paris to the south of France alone.
http://www.instructables.com/id/%3E-filming-boat-%3C/ 2 years ago I
was contracted as construction manager for East Africa largest
mobile technology Incubator in Nairobi, Kenya :
== The International Ocean Station
In 2009, I lead the Open-H2O group (former Open_Sailing, ~about 40
people) to win the Ars Electronica [NEXT IDEA] Golden Nica with the
proposal of building the International Ocean Station. It took about
5 decades and 150 billion USD to build the International SPACE
Station of which design and produced informations are generally
secret (even if financed by tax payers!). I believe that in under a
decade, we can build many International OCEAN Stations around the
world for a very modest cost with Open Hardware designs and open
We actually completed 75% of the construction of the International
Ocean Station in South London during summer 2009.
Unfortunately, the organisation committee of Ars Electronica got
scared and stopped funding the project half-way, so we never had the
chance to sail the International Ocean Station - it had to be
dismantled and recycled in Germany.
- Concept : http://goo.gl/H0aen
- Design : http://goo.gl/ieXOI
- Small model : http://goo.gl/qyPZC
- Construction of the real 7 tons steel structure :
== MIT ==
I was offered a position of researcher at Senseable City Lab in MIT,
Cambridge MA. I was chosen by my peers as project leader on the
SEASWARM project [senseable.mit.edu/seaswarm]
SEASWARM is an interesting technology, but it is going to be
expensive, it will take many years to develop it, all patented by
MIT. I decided to leave my "dream job" to develop a completely
different technology that would be cheap, that I could prototype
immediately and that would be Open Source. That's how I moved from
Boston to New Orleans and started Protei as I was volunteering and
teaching residents how to map the on-going oil spill in the Gulf of
Mexico using DIY Aerial Photography with the Public Laboratory
(former Grassroots Mapping) [http://grassrootsmapping.org/2010/07/bay-jimmy-post-oil-spill-observation/]
== How we are going to Succeed ==
I built many things. I am not afraid of failure. This is how we
progress, by trying and trying. I'll get back to build the
International Ocean Station after Protei has become a reliable
standard for Ocean study and cleaning. I am disciplined and I will
go at a moderate pace, because I will keep doing this until it
works. What is at stake is too precious to risk crashing the
community and myself. I believe we are going to succeed because we
know where we are going with the technology and the business.
The International Ocean Station IOS (manned laboratory) + Protei
(remote sensing and operation) + Website gathering data (Open-H2O)
- 2010 : Personal funds.
- I started prototyping Protei alone in a friend's garage by
Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans using my personal savings.
- 2011 : Philantropy.
- I used Kickstarter and designed a campaign to fund-raise for
Protei. With the help of V2_ the Institute for the Unstable
Media, we raised more than 33'000 USD and I recruited an
international team of engineers to work in a factory space we
rented in Rotterdam harbour.
- 2012 : Sponsorship (in
- We had amazing media exposure (CNN, Huffington Post, TED,
Vogue, New Scientist, nature.com, Phys.org, Zeilen, bateau,
Hackaday...), we had many exhibitions around the world (Japan,
Korea, China, Turkey, NL, France, UK, USA, Brazil) so we are
looking for sponsors as main source of revenue this year.
- 2013 : Sales (planned)
- We want to become financially sustainable as soon as
possible. We hope to start selling Protei_010 for Christmas
2012, as a small numbered edition.
- 2014 : Sales and grants
- By 2014 we should have a larger manufacturing volume. Also,
our extensively tested platform would have gained one year of
environmental data measuring, willing and ready to serve
environmental research grants.
- 2015 : Operations (planned)
- The ultimate goal of Protei is to sense and clean up the
ocean. By 2015 Protei 6m autonomous should allow us to start
collecting plastic in the oceans, cleaning up oil spills,
transporting large scientific payloads. 2016 : Back to work on
the International Ocean Station (IOS) Once Protei is running
well as a remote sensing and cleaning platform, that we are a
prosperous company with a well established network and gained
experience in Open hardware development, it will be the right
time for me -personally- to get back to lead the development
of the International Ocean Station, the floating manned
= constitute a full Ocean
== Build on successes ==
It is fundamental for our group to start with Protei - that is
already a complex and ambitious project to achieve - and build on
top of that success if we want to go ahead with something as
ambitious as the International Ocean Station.
Questions : Describe what you're focusing your energy on right
now. For example: Are you a student? Are you running a startup?
Are you working on a "passion project" alongside a full-time job?
== Start up : Protei as a B-Corp
I put most of my energy to grow protei as a startup that has a
product to sell. Building new prototypes, getting always closer to a
product is my current personal priority. Developing a business plan,
sponsorship plan, studying the market, planning, strategy, vision,
brand is also part of the corporate work. Setting up a business is
getting to know how the business works so I do a lot of networking
and talking to people who have been in this business for some time,
positioning ourselves. It is a steep learning curve for an inventor
like me, but I love it.
== Non-profit : Open-H2O as a 503c
Protei is a community-generated-technology, so I work a lot as
community organiser, discussion facilitator. That means welcoming
new members and putting them to work, maintaining conversation and
workflow with older members. That means coding and moderating the
community website, organising general meetings, managing research
and a lot of administrative work. We also have many exhibitions
around the world, talks and workshop so I must prepare a lot of that
materials, prototypes to ship, prints, slideshows, physical demos,
cutting films etc. I work as a secretary, taking notes of our
meetings, and doing all the paperwork : registrations, taxes,
accounting. Also technician maintaining web services, emails,
editing permissions to websites, FTP users, backups...
== PhD candidate ==
I am a part-time PhD in Design candidate at Goldsmiths University of
London, expected to finish in 2016. My thesis is about " Open
Hardware Entrepreneurship, Developing an ocean monitoring and
cleaning system". My PhD -strangely- does not create me more work, I
forces me to take time to reflect and write about my work a few
hours a week. 4 times a year I meet my supervisor for 2 hours and
she helps me develop my research in the academic world. Ocean
technology and science is still largely dominated by academia so it
is important to maintain academic status to have access to certain
polluted and protected sites, collaborate with other academics and
keep publishing. The "Protei handbook" is to my knowledge the most
comprehensive documentation published on an sailing robot : http://issuu.com/cesarharada/docs/protei-handbook-a4
== Teaching Masters at Uni ==
I lecture and tutor Masters in "Design and Environment at Goldsmiths
University. That's one of my main source of income and allows me to
"test" and explore new ideas with students. I am done with the
teaching for the academic year 2011-2012. In 2012-2013 I will
concentrate my teaching during the month of October so I can focus
on being an entrepreneur and non-profit lead the rest of the year.
== Odd jobs ==
Currently I do not manage to make ends meet with Protei and academic
work so I have no choice but doing a couple of odd jobs that take up
to 30% of my time. I decided to use my energy to develop Protei as a
business rather than applying to multiple research grants. I am
confident Protei as a business will soon support me financially and
that I will be able to dedicate myself a 100% to it.
Questions : What character traits do you think have contributed
to your ability to execute on your ideas thus far? *
== Love of nature ==
I am of shinto tradition. Nature is my religion. Not as a dogma, but
as in "love of nature is what guides my decisions".
== Creativity & Resourcefulness
I have an artistic and design background, but I work now in the
engineering and science world. I use my creativity to build a new
technology into a community and a business. Creativity and
adaptability are required for the survival of the nascent
entrepreneur I am. I can never be stuck, I always learn and
progress, driven by curiosity and passion.
== Determination, Efficiency ==
I did not do so many promises in my life, but the projects I am
currently doing are in that space. I believe "I am what I do", and
not "I am what I am" : I commit myself to make these projects happen
to change status quo. I know it is a long journey and we've been on
it for some time already. I keep my vision clear on long term goals
and I solve everyday issues one by one.
== Leadership ==
Leadership is caring for one's community. I love the oceans and
everyone in my team does too, making our discussions more focused
and productive as we care for the same things. I think our
organisation is quite democratic and decisions taken by consensus. I
love listening to people, getting to the point and getting things
done. I invented the Protei physical principles and the structure of
the non-profit + profit : because it is all quite new, it is
important I remain the guardian of the core values of the project.
Questions : If you are selected for the Alva Emerging
Fellowship, how would you use the funds to get your project off
the ground? *
Answer : If you give me 8500 USD cash, this is how I plan to use the
- 3000 : From prototype to product. Making a few more iterations
on prototypes leading to a product ready for manufacturing and
- 1700 : Taxes.
- 1300 : PhD fee.
- 1000 : Structural cost of setting a non-profit and Profit,
trademarks, patent filling, web services.
- 1000 : Lawyer to write the Open Hardware H20 License.
- 500 : Web developper to help coding Open-H20 Website.
Questions : What else should we know about you? *
== Stay lean, iterate and release
Any money I make goes into the making of the project. I have been
saving every penny to work on Protei. I live and breath for it. I
built my own yurt on top a friend's house in London Liverpool Street
to save up and build Protei prototypes.
I do this because the technologies we are develop are necessary. I
am currently based in London UK, but I am moving to SF in May 2012
because it gives me better access to : - water. The Bay and the
Pacific are perfect testing locations and home to the creative
sailing culture in the USA. - cutting edge technology, culture of
entrepreneurship and Open Hardware. - potential funding. Several
investors and potential sponsors are in the Bay Area. I don't know
yet where I will live yet, but I know I will develop Protei at
TechShop and Noisebridge. [techshop.ws] for prototyping,
[noisebridge.net] for electronic hacking. It is crucial for a
start-up to stay lean and productive. With only 100 USD / month I
can have access to a fully equipped workshop and office. This is how
I will be able to serve my community best.
== from "ideas worth Spreading" to
"product with huge environmental impact". ==
If you google me, you will find that in 2010 I became a TED Fellow
with the International Ocean Station Project. In 2011 I became a TED
Senior Fellow contributing to the TED community intensively since.
It has been an amazing experience that really changed my life, gave
me the opportunity to meet iconic characters but was more networking
oriented rather than "getting things done" oriented. I like people
and I know a good professional network is a requirement when doing
an ambitious project, but I need now to go "next level" of my
project. I looked carefully at 99% conference, talks, Behance and I
found a culture of young creative people running purposeful
businesses. I believe I could benefit from your community as well as
I could contribute to it.
I feel it is time for me and my community to go from "ideas worth
spreading" to "making ideas happen".
Thanks you very much for your time and attention.
Cesar Minoru Harada
Application submitted April
4th at 15:20 London Time / sent by email for confirmation.