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Cesar Harada's Unmanned Robots Clean Up Massive Oil Spills
TED Fellow | August 28, 2012

Cesar Harada's Unmanned Robots Clean Up Massive Oil Spills

The Lavin Agency is pleased to welcome our newest speaker, Cesar Harada. He's a TED Fellow, inventor and environmentalist—and he's changing the way we clean up our oceans. While studying oil spills off the coast in Japan, Harada noticed that the current oil spill skimming technology only collected 3% of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (otherwise known as the BP oil spill) in the Gulf of Mexico. He noted as well that the technology required expensive machinery and heavy human intervention, plus exposure to harmful toxins. Harada became determined to create and implement an open hardware prototype that could do better. And, he's done it.

Protei is a shape-shifting sailing robot that senses and clean the oceans.The entire hull bends to control itself, providing it with unprecedented sailing properties. Originally developed to clean up oil spills, Protei will also be used to measure radioactivity, plastic debris, monitor fisheries, coral reefs, algae blooms, provide general oceanographic data and serve as a surface satellite link to underwater vehicles. It's cheaper, greener, and vastly more efficient (it is self-righting and can travel far distances in any weather). It's a direct response to the environmental crises and the financial and technological inaccessibility of solutions to the general public. On stage, Harada expands on his vision of this robotics revolution: where it's going, what it could mean for our ecosystems, and how we can help by spreading awareness of the importance of this new technology.
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