Weekly Update 11 Jul 2021 - New Silicon Ball Design


One of the most useful feedback we got from last week was from a pioneer that told us your updates should not be a shopping list, should be what is the most important thing you got done this week in 200 characters. Really true! We are gonna keep a 200 words self-contained upate and a long update where will write as much as we want.

[SHORT] PIONEER What did you accomplish this week? Did you do everything as planned?

NEW YT VIDEO https://bit.ly/3wA6TLR
new boat design for BIG waves
4 plastic welding experiments
3 plastic holes experiments
strength test: FAILED
waterproof test: SUCCESS
iterated design
3,4,5,6,7 Blocked by failed test
READ FULL UPDATE https://bit.ly/3yL84td

Next Milestone

Have boat permanently and reliably in the sea

Goals For This Week

  • [MISSED] how much energy takes for boat to keep position in the sea? answer this question is the goal of this week. Keeping the boat NOT in the sea is complex and requires money, and our short term goal is to have the boat permanently in the sea
  • [HIT] does new wave resistant ball structure work? we need to build the boat keeping in mind that it will flip because of big waves, even if left for one night. That’s why we need ASAP a new design for how to keep the electronic, this new idea of having a buoy might be the winning one. We need to know if there are unexpected blockers, and prove that it works
  • [MISSED] what is the real 4G internet coverage? we are not using starlink in the near future, what is the real 4G range that the boat can have with the new router with antennas?

PIONEER What are you building, in a sentence?

Carbon free computing on solar powered boats

[LONG] PIONEER What did you accomplish this week? Did you do everything you planned?

TLDR; We designed, built, and experiment our new silicon ball design. Our design failed the tests and we come up with a new iteration that we will build next week.


  • electronic inflatable sphere structure

    • designed sphere structure
    • tested 3 different plastic welding techniques
    • 3d printed 12 handles
    • hot glued handls and set up box ropes mechanism
    • resin handles
    • mount router and phone on box
    • 3d printed 4 holes
    • resin four holes
    • [x[ bought 4 different types of gland for cabling
    • set up cables with waterproof plastic perforations
  • [-] reliability and data measurement

    • tested custom sim card, still not woring
    • buy new sim card
    • setup new sim card working
    • found out what was causing bluetooth bug to crash ap
    • silicon ball field experiment


  • android app

    • java app inclinometer feature (train)
    • java app pictures (train)
    • router setup with antenna
    • router remote GPSs
    • router remote ssh access static IP
  • field test saturday and sunday

    • buy tent and book camping (with electricity)
    • get battery and panel from storage
    • connect cables and ropes, full setup test at camping
    • load and inflate sphere
    • day testing


  • researched drift buoy design (see Update on System Design below)
  • researched locations to send the boat

    • Tuktoyaktuk, Norther Canada, 69 deg latitude, excellent internet
    • Dead Horse, Alaska, 70 deg latitude
  • researched data to back up artic ocean hypothesis

    • NASA earth observatory solar irradiance chart showing north pole getting 30% more sun than equator in summer soltice
  • researched static ip w/ adb over wifi technology to upload app upgrate remotely from internet to the ocean
  • found camping next to the sea, bought tent and other camping gear


  • Arwa (electronic engineering) working session on Wed
  • Siddarth (android engineer) working session on Sat
  • All hands
  • streamed on twitch 5 timesQ
  • 1 Youtube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZp11ol_R3w
  • 3 Twitch Streams

PIONEER What do you want to have done by the end of next week?

  1. fix bluetooth bugs, 100% app reliability on Android 10
  2. build new suction cup design to hold 50kg weight
  3. fix custom SIM card not connecting
  4. test sea stability: how much energy to keep boat position
  5. test interent range: how far can the boat go
  6. inclinomoter

Update on System Design

Functional Requirements


  • waterproof volume to contain dozens of GPUs
  • self righting
  • positon keeping
  • arbitrarly large solar power (order of 10-100kW) NICE TO HAVE
  • short term self driving capabilities
  • long distance self driving capabilities (north pole to south pole in 1 month)

Existing Designs

Our long term design for the electronics would look like a modified drift buoy. They are small spheres of fiberglass with a sea anchor that follow ocean currents. Ocean buoys (as opposed to drift buoys) are anchored and don’t move but they are massive and the deployment is expensive. It looks like that the best long term design would be the Wave Glider that is a drift buoy that can mantain its position without big consumption of energy, and also has self driving capabilities that could work for north pole -> south pole. As explained in the Roger Hine Standford video wave glider has station keeping of 50m that are better even compared to average ocean buoys (1000m) It has a reported speed of 1.3 knots and to go from north pole to south pole that would take 400 days. So it looks like we eneed a external motor or an external boat to do north pole to south pole.