Willem Roman Rabsztyn

Analyzing the current trends is essential to prospect the opportunities of tomorrow.


Protei Wild Robots


The biggest developments I’ve passed trough with this project are:

  • Prototyping; building a one meter long catamaran with very strong hulls
  • Combining ideas to a big realistic concept
  • Working with electronics and Arduino to create an autonomous boat
  • Building upon existing ideas and concepts

The first quartile of the project was approached as a team working on one single challenge. After some brainstorming we defined the challenge to focus on;

“Design an autonomous boat, by using interactive modules.”

Each of us chose his own aspect of this challenge. I focused on creating an intelligent catamaran that would house the interactive modules in it. I would build upon the current techniques and technologies and implement them in a boat.

My first iteration was the intelligent catamaran.

The design of this boat was based upon research to boat design. Based on the current disadvantages of the current boat design, I chose to build a catamaran.

I came up with an idea to make the boat unsinkable;

When you make the center part relatively rotatable with the tubs it can turn itself automatically in the good position again when it is capsized.

This idea was hard to implement in the wooden structure of my catamaran. So I made the catamaran flexible instead of self-rotatable.

I developed, with an assignment companion, a wind-direction sensor and a wind-speed sensor to make the catamaran intelligent. I made a sketch of the circuits (that I’ve learned in the “Creative Electronics” assignment), and connected the variable resistances of the sensors to the arduino. From there I programmed code.

You can find the code in the appendix of my project report.

What did I learn from the intelligent catamaran?

With this process I learned to look at the advantages and disadvantages of a current design and use those with idea generation and making design decisions.

Another thing I learned is to quickly iterate your ideas and this will help you to find out the possibilities of the design and the making of it. For example, the self-rotatable feature was hard to develop.

The electronics part was a good exercise to use the knowledge learned at the Creative Electronics assignment (It was also a part of the assignment).

Swarm behavior system

My second focus was on the swarm behavior of many of the boats. How should it look like and what kind of system should be used.

I researched on the protei website what their ideas about this design challenges was. There were just a few links with possible systems that could be used.

When researching on the sites behind the links I found out that MOOS-IvP was the most capable system for Protei. It was a very modular system that will provide autonomy on robotic platforms, and especially, marine vehicles.

I researched more on this system and eventually got a MOOS-IvP server running on my computer.

What did I learn?

I learned to analyze several ideas and extract useful information to shape a part of a concept within an overall challenge.

After the midterm we decided to not work together anymore, this because we good feedback that they didn’t saw the collaboration very clear. They did understand the overall goal but the collaboration within the interpretation of the overall goal was not clear.

So we decided to split our paths and focus on our own project.

I decided to try to create a big overall concept that would create a plan that will full-fill the whole process of creating a boat and making it operative.

Final Boat

As one of my final prototypes I build a one meter big catamaran. This because this would be an excellent development for myself and because this would fit in my overhulling final concept.

I first sketched the catamaran on paper and in SolidWorks to get a good visualisation of what I want to build

You can see in the images below what I've build and how the process has gone.

After a few weeks spended in Vertigo I tried to re-use code of a previous protei student for my own boat. I recalibrated the software and hardware and wrote some extra code. This code can be found in my report appendix

What did I learn from this process?

I experienced a lot of development within forms and senses and my experience with building prototypes. The work with the wood didn't went as calculated by solidworks, I had to anticpiate on that and I've done that quite well. The final goal, to close the tubs, was still completed, so they technicqually could float.

Besides the crafting of the boat I also experienced another development related to the boat, the (re)programming of the arduino with compass shield also helped me to improve me within the Integrated Technology competency. What I found out that it was much harder then I thought to make a some more complex code really work.

Final concept

The final concept consists of a plan of 5 steps how Protei should work in the future. In my report this steps are more explained.

Step 1; Create a stable oceans sailing vessel

A user that want to join Protei have to build a stable boat, kits with basic elements should help people to decrease the threshold for people to do this.

Step 2; Make the sailing vessle intelligent

An electronics kit should be included in the boat to make it intelligent and aware of several environment values.

Step 3; Enable a communication portal

To send positioning data and recieve instructions from shoreside the boat has to be able to communicate on long range.

Step 4; Create a shoreside control system

To control the boats as a swarm I investigated the options of systems that are able to control different vehicles as a swarm. As earlier discussed in this report the MOOS-IvP system is very interesting for marine swarm controlling puproses. This system is able to control boats and avoid collision with eachother and avoid collision with obstacles.

Step 5; The community platform

The community in the end will control all the boats. So there have to be defined a system that is able to give the shore side controlling system instructions of what the flees and the boats should do. Everyone that has build a boat should be able to have influence of their own boat, but also all the boats should act as an efficient swarm of boats.

There is developed a platform that aims to manage the boats and to let the community drive the fleets. The ideas is that everyone could submit in the future section are one by one reviewed. In the end you can vote on the best ideas for the next goal for the fleet. This goal is translated to instruction for MOOS-IvP and processed to the boats in the end.

What did I learn from creating the platform process?

Forming this second final deliverable consisting of a platform where the community will control the boats, was really conceptual for me. It helped me mainly to improve my competency Ideas and Concepts competency. Also Social Culture Awareness, Integrated Technology, Forms and Senses and a bit of User Focus Perspective were developed within this deliverable.

Creating the boat and making it intelligent helped me to improve me Forms and Senses, Integrating technology comptencies.

What did I learn from creating the final overlapping step plan?

When shaping this big overlapping concept I learned to filter all the ideas and pick the best ones out that are fitting together. The competencies Ideas and Concepts and Design and Research Processes where hereby developed.

Link to feedback Link to report