Share this project


Share this project

Oil spilled moves downwind : we are sailing upwind to capture it. Protei is an ocean cleaning and research open hardware drone.
331 backers pledged $33,795 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates


1c7e30d5f61d99b247b7842aafb40333 original.jpg?ixlib=rb 2.0
5cd87c1fa6d2d402257cd99a0e49eca7 original.jpg?ixlib=rb 2.0
Fc735e2f25d312b299c5c6a19fd3f4a2 original.jpg?ixlib=rb 2.0
2ebaccc9fb6915c620ffab1cc7d7baaa original.jpg?ixlib=rb 2.0
7e2cc092760f757e616d446fdd132df2 original.jpg?ixlib=rb 2.0
C24fa6c4b904eebf45713449ffcb9964 original.jpg?ixlib=rb 2.0
098caa8377cee8abaaace79f051327e1 original.jpg?ixlib=rb 2.0
F75e79878f79f5baf4cd0f8f60d4d2ce original.jpg?ixlib=rb 2.0
56bfc98a6a64e61c54870a7ae761d7fd original.jpg?ixlib=rb 2.0
8ec5ca9a8c83acc96f33bbb5b8c5044c original.jpg?ixlib=rb 2.0

We are ready!

Posted by Cesar Harada (Creator)

We've been around for almost 2 weeks in Rotterdam at the V2_ now, and we got our space set up, keys for everybody, internet connexion, a fridge for our lunches, a big table to work ect : the conditions to work !

This is Mathew Lippincott from Oregon - now studying in Swtizerland - working on our MEGA TABLE - to do large pattern cutting and large plastic sheet assembly. 

We have received our oil booms! Roberto Melendez and Piem Wirtz saying "YAY". May I say "LOL" even ? 

And we had an intense week of brain-storming and drawing : 

Here, Henrik Rudstrom, Logan Williams, Roberto Melendez and Qiuyang Zhou in the background. 

We have divided the team in 3 smaller groups to research shape-shifting hulls : 
1. Spine-based hull, moving around a flexible axe.
2. Hollow hull, actuated by it's surface. 
3. Pneumatic, entirely actuated by pressure transfers. 

That means that at the end of this week, you will see 3 mechanical principle prototypes coming along! Stay tuned :)

And this week, meet the wonderful Roberto Melendez!

Engineer 1 : Roberto Melendez (El Salvador, USA), Mechanical and Ocean Engineering , MIT. Roberto, 21, is a student of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering at MIT. A native from El Salvador, he enjoys sailing, biking, windsurfing, fútbol and being outdoors in general. Thanks to Toni Nottebohm for the video. 

Get to know the Protei team on the people page.

Meet Qiuyang Zhou - Protei Core Team, Head of Engineering

Posted by Cesar Harada (Creator)

This week, let us introduce to you the wonderful Qiuyang Zhou from the University of South Denmark! Qiuyang is Protei Head of Engineering and makes sure each of us is on task on time, compiles our research to make a great coherent project.

Thanks Toni Nottebohm for this video. You will meet more members of Protei every week. Stay tuned and meet us all :)

Protei in the New Scientist

Posted by Cesar Harada (Creator)

I heard through a friend of mine that Protei is in the New Scientist new issue!
Well done V2_ Piem Wirtz for giving this interview, I am so proud when the Protei team members gets under the spots, well deserved exposure! Also we must credit our dear Hunter Daniel that is half naked in a scientific publication! :D On the picture you can see Protei003 that was built thanks to the support of Suzette Toledano and the LA Bucket Brigade, tested in the Pontchartrain Lake in New Orleans, near the BP Oil Spill.

The New Scientist is an interesting magazine that really links the scientific community and the world in a modern, serious yet quirky way. Special thanks to Jacob Aron for writing this insightful article and associating our names with a couple of other great projects.

Link to full size article image. Thanks to Matt Jones for the picture and the tweets. 

Also on-line, on the website : 

Link to full-size screenshot.

The original article can be found here :

Short link :

The other great projects Jacob Aron mentions are :
- The Pinta by  Sauze and Neal (UK). 
- Roboat by Roland Stelzer (Austria).

We made an extensive blog post of the recent sailing robot projects on our website if you are eager to know about this small world on the big ocean. 

Thank you New Scientist!

First Protei core engineering meeting at V2_!

Posted by Cesar Harada (Creator)

I'm extremely excited to announce that yesterday, for the first time, the whole Protei core team of engineers has been sitting around the same table - yes, same space-time! I will not be shy and declare that we have an incredible team of highly motivated and qualified people, and the energy is contagious. We can never thank enough the V2_ for producing and hosting Protei, and each of you -amazing backers- that make all of this possible. THANK YOU !!!

From left to right : Peter Keen (NZ), Piem Wirtz (NL), Henrik Rudstrom (NL + NO), Logan WIlliams (USA), Roberto Melendez (El Salvador), Jiskar (NL), Toni Nottebohn (DE), Matthew Lippincot (USA) and Sebastian Muellauer (DE) on Skype, Qiuyang Zhou (CN + DK) our chief Engineer and myself Cesar Harada (FR + JP) taking the picture. We have more people coming, that we will introduce to you in time. We are also increasing our capacity of collaborators on-line, truly thrilling. 

We will be working at the V2_ electronic workshop. 

But we will spend most of our time in our own space in the industrial harbor. And this space of ours, is MA-GNI-FI-CENT!!! This is where the money you gave us is going, in the space, in the tools, in the materials, the electronics, the food, the coffee... Thanks to your support we are going to have 3 months to work, focused entirely on Protei.

Today we made the inventory of the tools and an outline of the project development in a great creative atmosphere, the space is now filled with tools, the tables covered with drawings :) Prepare to see a lot of new content on Protei's website, and soon some research prototypes! Stay tuned!

Toni Nottebohn is filming us all the time, so we should be able to share with you short extracts of our project in Rotterdam. Special thanks to Piem Wirtz, Boris Debackere, Alex Adriaansens, Meyboom Danielle, Simon de Bakker and all the team and the friends of Protei.

One year of hard work to prepare this gathering of brilliant minds, we have all the elements to make this a great success : 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ... IGNITION !!!

Protei research is moving fast forward

Posted by Cesar Harada (Creator)

Hello dear backers and friends of Protei, Yes, we are still alive, very much so! So much is happening, it is hard to keep you updated! Happy weekend to all! Don't forget mothers day tomorrow :)

The technology

We are making great progress on the mechanical design, the mathematic/simulation model and control group. I would like to mention in particular two recent and important findings for Protei. 

1. At high speed the curved hull of Protei may create lateral lift. 

Editable version of the diagram

The understanding we previously had of the articulated hull was that we could predict where Protei would be going (trajectory) depending on the curvature of the hull. Now, that is true at low speed and we've tested it multiple times - and that was already a fascinating finding! Now we found that at a greater speed and with the right curvature, the curved hull of Protei may behave more like a wing, creating - not a vertical lift (like an airplane) but - a lateral lift. If that hypothesis is verified, that would mean that we could potentially sail closer to the wind than anybody did before, and in general improve the properties of a sailing vessel. Now this finding indicates a boundary in sailing behavior that we can be excited to reach and pass! Just as reminder, the worlds fastest sailing vessel is based on a similar hydrofoil system, the amazing Hydroptere. Just watch the video below and imagine the implications of what we just told you...

2. We can reduce the loss of steering and pulling power by moving the anchoring point of the "tail" closer to the center board vertical reference.  

Yes, Etienne Gernez and Qiuyang Zhou have suggested that attaching the boom at the stern (back) was the main reason of the loss of steering (direction) and pulling power. Even though this was one of the original design factor to develop a front-rudder Protei, they are absolutely right. By simply shifting the point where the boom is attached to somewhere closer to the center of "rotation" - roughly above the center board - we can steer much more easily - theoretically. So, this is another important factor that will change the design of Protei in the coming weeks.

Workspace + sleeping space in Rotterdam

It is not signed yet, but it looks like Piem Wirtz and Bjefke Bonnema have found both our work and living space in Rotterdam for this summer, YAY! We will be building Protei 006 in the industrial harbor of Rotterdam between the 1st of June until the public presentation the 3rd of September at the World Port Day.  

Intellectual Property discussion

Since the development of Protei is accelerating and more and more people are showing interest in the project, a parallel discussion about Intellectual property is happening.
You are invited to take part in that discussion since we may soon have to take decisions about the licensing plan of Protei. Please comment or send emails to 

Your details 

Some of you may have already been contacted but, we keep collecting the details of our dear backers in order to ship you the rewards. Of course this information will remain confidential. We will announce the delivery of the rewards after our general launch in September. Yes, it is a long time from now, but this is the time we need to develop Protei to a meaningful point and document it. 


I have just started a map to show where our prototypes were tested, where the makers, backers and friends of Protei are located - no precise position for individual security. You can just add yourself to the map, move a placemark, suggest a material retailer etc : this is protei's map!


If you want to join Protei general meetings or specific subjects, check out our calendar, you can join us on skype :) Just add <cesarminoruharada> and ask me to add you to the group you want to join : Welcome!

Lovely weekend to all of you!