Protei, Shape-Shifting Sailing Robot

In 2010, in left MIT Senseable City Lab and moved to New Orleans to work directly on the BP Oil Spill, primarily as a volunteer at the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, later with Public Lab producing aerial maps of the spill. On my free time, I investigated the hypothesis of a wind-powered robot that would drag an oil sorbent to clean up the oil spill. I accidentally discovered the principle of a shape-shifting hull. I released the technology as open source. An international research community quickly grew supporting this technology. We crowdfunded on Kickstarter and built many prototypes around the world. The technology is extremely promising yet needs to be built at scale to demonstrate its full potential.

Protei is part of the V&A exhibition “The Future Starts Here” touring 5 countries until 2021.

Protei is part of the permanent collection of the CNAP (Centre National des Arts Plastiques) in France. Protei was exhibited in Korea, Japan, Qatar, Austria, France, Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, the US and more.


Protei_006 Handbook