Mar 12, 2018

Oct 3, 2017

VTOL Cities

As new RideSharing models quickly prove feasibility, investors and dozens startups are racing for what lies beyond self driving cars, VTOL. If legislation can keep pace with technology, our skies, and cities will quickly transform into something new.

We can begin to imagine new cities arising in the middle of nowhere, strategically positioned between points of interest. The drive for humans to escape cities, and the affordability of VTOL just might replace the Jet age.

This is an excerpt from my Medium Post: Flying Cars are Here to Stay

Jun 23, 2017

A Note on Globalization

From where I write this last paragraph, in a hip Bangalorean restaurant on Lavelle Road. I close my eyes. The chatter of British accented young ladies and hip electronic bass music pervade my senses. I know not if I’m in The Battery of San Francisco, or a rooftop bar in Hong Kong, or London. A wine bottle opens, someone laughs. Globalization and the internet has shifted human culture to the point of global unity. Fashion, technology, art and music are converging in a brilliant symphony of human expression. What’s next, Is for the future to decide… I know that I want to be there to see it, write about it, and build it. 

-Garrett Kinsman 
March 2017. Bangalore, India.

May 22, 2017

Ola Play

Helped imagine, design, source, and launched Ola Play, the largest connected Ridesharing network on Earth. Each cab became part of a distributed computing network. Banglaore, India:

Mar 13, 2017

Updated No Parking Signage

While voyaging manhattan, it seems that "No Parking" signs are designed to be as complicated as possible. This is likely to derive city revenues in the form of parking tickets. Parking usually looks something like this:
Let me help describe: No Standing 11pm-7am including Sundays, no Standing 7am-4pm Mon-Fri, and No Parking 8am-6pm Mon-Fri. Also "Nigh Regulation" What? 
There has to be a better way, one that follows the way that humans read and think. Simple blocks, in a calendar like grid, with colors showing when not to park. Red means NO:
These are then filled with information showing when and when not to park:
 The only downside is that it may not be as visible from a distance than the older designs, and may not collect as many parking tickets. Next steps are to incorporate no standing and no parking. 

Jan 22, 2017

Natana Update

Logotype and repeater station 1km from slum
Natana is an experiment to drastically reduce the cost of internet access by enabling anyone to deploy and maintain carrier grade infrastructure. This test in a slum of Bangalore connected around one hundred people to a base station, feeding off a relay, connected to my house:
It turns out that one can build internet from found bamboo and PVC.
Interestingly enough, the villagers can maintain the last mile infrastructure for many months at a time. The microwave link and Wi-Fi antenna in the slum are solar powered:
Their 100AH lead acid battery + charge controller can power their phones, which they normally pay ~10 Rs to charge. These payments can pay for equipment, and backbone access:
This relationship between internet and energy just might enable the poorest 4 Billion humans get online.

Aug 19, 2016

Jetlag Apple Watch App

I found myself traveling from India, to China, to USA in a matter of a week. I ended up Terribly Jetlagged. So I created Jetlag.

Jetlag maps your sleep with Apple's Sleep API (Yet to be released) and creates notifications on when to take a nap based on sleep habits and artificial intelligence. This reduces fatigue and enables a smoother recovery.
Jetlag uses predictive learning to map one's circadian rhythm, enabling "Predictive Naps". Predictive naps are presented to the user as a push notification, "Take Nap" or "Dismiss". Tapping "Take Nap" creates a pre-set timer to resync one's body to their natural cycle. 

This will also require Apple to open up their faces API

Jul 10, 2016

Free Internet for my neighborhood

An experiment in deploying Free Interent andCrowd-funded Internet Access to the poor.

You are the internet:
First hook-up showing Bridge and AP
Close up of Ubiquity Nanosation 5.8 GHz Bridge:
Close up of Ubiquity Nanostation 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Access point:
 Host Access point connected to the Internet opposite park:
Fun Fact: The Free Internet in the Park is several times faster than Comcast in San Francisco.

It has begun!~

Apr 14, 2016

Apr 7, 2016

KaleKam Logo

Designed a logo for some friends building an Artificial Intelligence startup based around food. You take a photo of your food and it counts calories and nutrition, that simple. 
Hand drawn typography with bits of Avenir. 
A good few hour project!

Jan 15, 2016

Augmented Reality Interface for Military, Search and Rescue, and Space Applications

Soldiers, police, firefighters, astronauts, search and rescue workers all face the problem of managing information. This is an attempt to organize radios, comm links, encryption, health and power in an arm-mounted interface. The following is a design sketch for maps:
The first iteration would be a flexible e-ink display to be strapped to the wrist. Large touch points make it easy to use in the field with gloves or wet hands. As Augmented reality quickly develops, the interface moves from the wrist to virtual reality within AR sunglasses:

The interface is designed to adapt as technology quickly advances....

Nov 5, 2015

Smartphone design moving forward

Modern smartphones of 2015 are the same in almost every way. This is an attempt to differentiate, originally done in 2013. I simply inverted the image. It's my version of the perfect phone.
The only main differences I would change is move the headphone port to the bottom, along with USB C.

The Verge reviews the stone

My favorite project yet:
I worked with a talented EE, leading the design and manufacture of 800 prototype units. 
Reviewed by The Verge:

Oct 25, 2015

Extended battery module for Project ARA

ARA will be perfect for Industrial control applications. This battery pack allows it to operate in remote environments for extended periods.
Early Ara prototypes were falling apart, the concept above uses pushpins to lock modules din place. 

Alternative Reactor Designs

The physics and mechanics to power a fossil fuel free, nuclear powered future are quite well known. Todays coal power plans could operate using nuclear power plant designs from the 1960s and still be light years ahead of our current energy infrastructure.
Modern nuclear reactors are virtually indestructible, highly efficient, and very cheap to operate. So why haven't more reactors been built? The answer is fear. And politics. A new power reactor hasn't been built for the public in the US since the 1970s (while countries like China, France, and India are going full steam ahead with their light water reactors.
In comparison the reactor that blew up a Fukushima was from the 1970s and very similar to the designs used in the US today. Most experts think we should update our rusting fleet, and I agree. We know how to do it, and it would cost very little to do so. It is the political situation regarding nuclear power that is keeping us in the coal age. What we need to do is sway the opinion of politicians and the general public.  It is a marketing problem, and the future of humanity just might depend on it. 
This is a quick sketch I created to explore how nuclear reactors might be able to appear more friendly. Reactor technology has advanced so far, that the US military us using dozens of small reactors to power floating cities (Aircraft carriers) with people living and sleeping safely just a few hundred feet away from the reactor core. There is no reason (besides the current political situation) that a nuclear reactor cannot power schools, factories, and agriculture. Experimental designs are even safer, requiring less maintenance.
The Ginna Nuclear Power Plant, that powered the first 16 years of my life (Democrat and Chronicle)
Currently operating plants were generally built in the 1970s and 80s, huge monolithic designs with truly scary architecture. The "Communist green" building above holds a gigantic pressurized water reactor that powered my home growing up. Even old designs can be operated safely, but experts are raising questions as most reactors in the US are having their lifetimes extended 20 years beyond ther spec. If we're going to build new power plants, they must look attractive and safe, and seem different than the "Old unsafe designs of yore" .If we're going to be building one in our backyards, they're going to need a new look, new style, and a new brand.

Aug 27, 2015

An experiment in Bitcoin

The problem with modern cryptocurrency is that it is quite intangible to the average person. In order to see widespread adoption, Bitcoin must be made simple to understand. Normally, the currency is transferred by a string of text [or a private key]. Most people can't understand that a string of text can hold value, people need something physical to associate that value with.

I along with two colleagues designed a physical version of Bitcoin. Many attempts have been made, but this was the simplest (and most attractive) we could conceive. A database has been designed  to handle the wallet generation, alongside the creation of QR codes and unique identifiers.  Each "coin" is unique and any value can be associate with each "Coin". My role was to create the designs, and layout the several hundred unique "coins" for print.

A fun experiment in product design! I hope to see these end up all over the world!

Jun 13, 2015

More on the future of the internet

 Most modern smartphones can form highly advanced mesh networks, but they are limited by three things:
3.Software fragmentation (in Mesh protocols and RF communication stack)

I look around and almost every human has a powerful networking computer in their pocket. With currently existing hardware (Wi-fi and Bluetooth, possibly LTE) massive networks will be created, augmenting and building upon our current information infrastructure. Currently hardware incompatibilities make this difficult to do.  Ara will help change this.

To further explore my original concept, I imagined a higher power radio on Ara. With USB C, power will be more modular, allowing the radio to feed off a cheap battery pack or a laptop. More power allows for a longer range and more data to be transferred. This would act as a node that anyone can access, connecting the user to a free network. 

 I opted for an external antenna for it's better RF propagation and range. When connected to the mesh, much more data will be passing through the device. Many argue it's unsafe to position a transmitter directly against one's skin (For example in your pocket).  This design is for 2.4 GHz (Wi-Fi/ bluetooth), as it can communicate with modern non-Ara devices. When I add a storage module, Ara becomes a digital library for places where internet isn't available or is too expensive. 

Today we are seeing simple networks form between people. Soon, we will utilize LTE Direct to create much more advanced networks. Free, local networks will form sharing information, texts, and calls. Developers will create radical applications, enabling the next era in mobile computing. Connect this to dark fiber, or a balloon, and you have just connected the next 3 billion.

All we need is some software.....

May 26, 2015

Ultra-modular Thorium Molten Salt Shipping Container Reactors

The following is a concept based on current and past pursuits in small reactor technology. Today, there are two major issues we need to solve. 1- We need to build a global, free, open internet for all mankind to use. I am working on this problem today, and it is easily feasible (Mostly through software). The next leap will require slightly more resources: 2- Energy. Global fossil fuels consumption is accelerating rapidly, with higher energy demands each year. Here's how we get our power (Courtesy of the EPA):
Over 80% of our energy comes from burning the ancient forests of our Earth. This simply isn't sustainable. Much like our demand for internet, our demand for energy is insatiable. In order for us to keep up with increasing demand we need new sources. Fusion is still at least 20 years away, we need a solution for now. But in order for nuclear to work, it must be at the right price and in the right form factor. To look at the future we must look towards the past:

As our nation came out of WWII, atomic energy was applied to a wide variety of tasks. WWII was won partially because of our oil infrastructure, and the Army wanted the best energy sources for any future conflict. In 1954 the Army officially began it's nuclear power program. Over the course of its operation, reactors were built in Antarctica, and along the Dew Line. One reactor even powered an underground ice base at Camp Century, Greenland. 
One variation was the highly experimental reactor shown above. It consisted of six shipping container-sized modules, to save weight, radiation shielding was removed. The main control module required placement 500 feet away from the reactor unit. The Nitrogen-cooled gas-turbine design was fraught with technical problems and corrosion issues.  Deemed a failure, it was an important experiment in portable reactors. 
The Air Force experimented with nuclear powered aircraft (ARE) in the 1950's, creating the foundations of molten salt reactor design. Oak Ridge National Laboratory furthered such experiments  with a highly successful test ending in 1969. Research began to fizzle out as funding dried up in the 1970s and 80s.
The Navy now leads the Nuclear era with their small, modular, pressurized water reactors (SMRs). Such reactor designs have been powering submarines for over 60 years. They now operate a fleet of over 80 subs and carriers (as of 2014) powered by SMRs, many of these vehicles carry more than one reactor.  This IRIS reactor operates on similar principles and is designed mainly by Westinghouse, the maker of many Navy reactors:
Some very interesting research is going into the creation of combustion fuel from seawater using such reactors. Though the Navy has much more advanced reactors, this SMR technology is beginning to hit consumer markets. 
The problem with small uranium reactors is their cost, mainly because of their unsafe inherent safety profile and setup costs. Simon Irish gave an insightful talk on how increased safety directly reduces the cost of building and running nuclear reactors. While SMRs are an order of magnitude safer than the outdated goliaths used in Chernobyl and Fukushima, uranium still poses hefty proliferation and regulatory concerns. 
The only way to build and operate SMRs affordably are to make them:
  1. Inherently Safe
  2. Modular
  3. Autonomous
  4. Portable
  5. Low Proliferation Risk
  6. Efficient
  7. Mass Produced 
The only way to drive down the cost of nuclear power is to mass produce small units. Using the much safer, liquid fuel cycle will also drastically improve safety and efficiency. ML-1 got a lot of things right. It was very cheap to set up (compared to today's custom, >$1bn power stations). Technological and theoretical advancements would now allow a portable, ML-1-like unit to be quite viable. I suspect many such units likely exist in our current "Arsenal of Democracy". The government builds cool stuff, much of which we will never get to see.
Because the military and commercial world operate in very different regulatory environments, running a uranium reactor is too expensive to be viable for small, cheap units. Our next option, one that is in it's early stages of development is Thorium. I believe it's going to take the following configuration for nuclear to truly have a positive global impact: I call it BLOKenergy
The primary reactor fits in one 40 foot ISO shipping container. Its molten salt rector is highly modular, mass produced, and inherently safe. If any problem occurs, the molten reactor is drained, and the nuclear reaction ceases. Here's what the inside might look like:
The primary reactor consists of two "containers". The reactor, heat exchangers, and steam generator consist of the first module. The second reactor module consists of fuel re-processing equipment (Much of which is highly experimental and the primary object of research in Thorium reactors)
Many modern designs are utilizing a gas-turbine technology to convert heat into electricity. While more efficient (nearing 50%),  this technology is also quite young and expensive to build. To keep the first iteration simple, I opted for steam, as these units can be deployed to heat homes, or integrate with current small scale coal and gas electrical generation. One module can work without the other (Except the two reactor modules), allowing for a highly configurable energy source. All of this is controlled via onsite computers and through an encrypted satellite connection.
The steam generators will input steam directly to the turbine module, housing generators and steam turbine equipment. Production would begin first on steam turbine units, as these can be sold (regardless of any reactor) to be used in current coal and gas power generating configurations. These types of steam generators are in production and have been in use for over a hundred years.
Another helpful module would be the desalination unit. Multiple Effect Distillation, or Multi-stage flash distillation (The latter being more efficient at high temperatures, the former is better using waste heat from steam turbines) would be used to turn Sea water into fresh water. California is in a heavy drought, which to me is silly as we are along an ocean. We just haven't found an economical way to get the salt out- Yet.
Today the possibilities for nuclear are endless, with fusion assuredly on the horizon. Our demand for oil is only increasing and nuclear is currently the only truly sustainable option. While wind and solar are great, they can't yet provide the amounts of continuous energy we need, especially for industrial applications. Our future energy infrastructure should include a healthy mix of wind, solar, and nuclear.
Future iterations will likely include a gas turbine design, allowing for higher efficiency and heat distribution for industrial applications.  Many (petro)chemical manufacturing processes require high heat (eg ammonia production), that molten salt reactors could provide economically.
Much of what I write about is very possible today. A major factor holding thorium back is the fuel supply chain. Currently China controls much of the world's thorium, as it is a byproduct of rare-earth mining. India has also added thorium to its three stage nuclear program. Thorium is plentiful in most parts of the world (especially the US, India, and Australia). The problem is much of it is extracted through rare earth mining, in which the US is woefully behind the rest of the world, with China taking the lead. Considering the state of affairs, China will likely pioneer the commercialization of thorium power, as they currently have a lot of thorium sitting around. Here's a USGS map of Th in the US:
The last problem is economics. The current demand to develop radical new technology in this country is relatively low. I believe it will take about 8 years for this technology to be ready for prime time, and when it does- its going to have a global impact. With current thorium reserves we can end drought, bring electricity and warmth to the furthest stretches of our planet, all with minimal environmental impact. This modularized approach just might be what it takes to wean off our oil addiction until we can get fusion to work.
Until then,
Garrett Kinsman  ::  May 25, 2015