Picture of PROTEI_007
seeed logo (2).jpg
Protei_007 is the seventh prototype for a project called Protei, which is an open source, articulated, segmented, robotic, unmanned, sailboat, originally built to sail upwind, dragging a long oil-absorbent boom, to aid in the cleanup of oil near spill sites.  However, Protei is being developed into a more modular and adaptable design for an affordable, easy-to-build, boat, that can be utilized for various purposes, including nuclear waste monitoring, biological sampling, and plastic trash collection.  The documentation for the construction and design of Protei_006, a 3 meter remote controlled prototype,  can be downloaded, viewed, or purchased here, in the hope that eventually, there can be a fleet of unmanned robotic boats, as others copy and implement the designs for ready-to-deploy boats. 

This tutorial includes all the necessary information for the mechanical construction, electronic architecture, and software packages for Protei_007, including the laser templates and code packages.  This can be constructed in a few hours.  Required tools include a laser cutter. 

MAJOR THANKS TO SEEED STUDIO for supporting the building of the following Protei prototype!

This particular snakelike robot is the skeleton of a segmented articulating robot that can be controlled both with a joystick or any type of input, as well as the capability to move on its own with a wavelike motion propagated down the body.  Each rib (horizontal plexiglass cross section) is composed of 3/8" plexiglass, and is attached to servo motors which act as the joint, rotating back and forth in one axis (side to side).  This makes each segment independently shape-shifting, contrary to earlier versions of Protei.  Each segment is connected by either a rigid metal bracket joint, or by a more flexible PVC tube.  This current version is about 1.5 meters long, composed of 17 segments.   This is rather arbitrary, and does not need to be followed exactly.  Additionally, I use three sizes of servos, with the larger ones in the center, and smaller ones on either end, mimicking the tapering shape of a snake.

See video and documentation of Protei_006 :

Here are some photos and some documentation from Protei_007 at the ITP Winter Show 2011.

mukena5 months ago

A snakelike robot. Fantastic.

Hi! can i see the schematic diagram? thanks

Tomorrow's world! Great work, fantastic idea, brilliant ethic.
Uptonb3 years ago
Congrats on being a finalist, and good luck!
Michael_oz3 years ago
Wouldn't it be better to house the brains in the middle where the stronger/larger ribs are? Also the ends would presumably be more at risk than the middle.
gabriellalevine (author)  Michael_oz3 years ago
thanks for that thought - I ill consider that for the next prototype
Has it successfully moved through the ocean yet? (And if so, is there a video?)
I am so happy to see this instuctables!!! Suitcase!!!! You rock! i am your #1 fan!

Great Autonomous Idea, Would need to be pretty large to not get fouled
in Debri in The North Pacific Gyre. A "Green" support vessel would be
needed also. A Sail Assist with a powerplant similar to Foss's Hybrid Tugs
would be suitable for this application. A gasification plant onboard for
the waste harvested could further reduce fuel needs.

TallShip Kaisei is working towards a solution also:


My visit to and Island in The Gyre:


A small version would be handy to roam the bilges of a Detroit Diesel
powered vessel I am working on too.......

WYE_Lance3 years ago
Superb idea! You have my gratitude for investing your time and resources into mitigating our damage to the planet. I'll vote for you in the arduino contest - good luck!
mikeasaurus3 years ago
Awesome project, and I like that it's version 7 of this concept!