I wanted to title this "More Big News!" but I think the current title is far more accurate. The reference for both titles is the fact that I recently learned about an advancement in bacterial technology. A team of international scientists accidentally mutated Ideonella Sakeinsis to be even more effective, so that it breaks down plastic in only a few days! I thought to myself "Holy cow! Maybe they'll let me use that!" and while I am currently pursuing this, I'm only doing it halfheartedly. This is because I realized (and previously said) that I need to narrow my focus and so plan to keep that up. Even though I can't help but be excited about this discovery, just like I can't help but be excited about another potential job working as a Computational Linguist (I'm a linguist) for a startup company. Although it's a bunch of Tech Bros. I have no doubt that with a bit of gumption I can fit right in! This new job is not overseas, despite my previous excitement. But it is awesome. So I guess I just keep going back to the same emotional loops with the same stimuli, but ah well. At least I'm learning my patterns.
But this is not just an update. I have to apologize to you all, since I said that the demo would be in May and that does not appear to be possible anymore. Maybe I can whip out a demo, or at least the first round of one, by the end of the month but probably not. I'm further, much further, than I was in September but not as far as I would like. But this seems to be the natural pace of new things; go-stop-go and over time (so much time) things begin to grow and develop.
As this development continues I'm faced with a difficult critic; math. I've developed PETER and her rates of effectiveness against the mostly enclosed Monterey Bay. But when calculating for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, it seems that for the same number of PETERs to be manufactured with a relatively similar level of effectiveness, she would need to be 50 ft across. In order to make her more effective, she could even be 80 ft across. But to develop either of these larger sizes requires much more material, which would greatly increase the price of each robot. Because of this, she would no longer be affordable. I have a tentative solution to this, one that would keep the burden of cost off the consumer (in order for PETER to be an effective method of individual empowerment, she must be inexpensive). But this solution is partially dependent on outside intervention, so I will need to alter my focus for phase one funding. I'll keep you posted if that becomes the case! But PETER will still be available for the individual, even if that's not the primary funding method. Another potential solution to this issue of cost is to change the material that PETER is made out of. I'm currently considering two bio-plastics, but I have a few issues with both of them. Because they're plastics I would have to chemically alter them to break down quickly and completely. That chemical alteration may be too expensive, or even create a toxic byproduct. I would like to say that this problem is too far into the future to matter to my narrowed focus right now, but it's really not. The materials that the machine is built from are the foundation of my solution and so require my immediate attention.
Another foundation of my solution is collaboration, which I have been lacking in recently. From cancelling team calls to dodging my patent lawyer's technical writer because I missed one call from her and now I'm too embarrassed to pick up the phone. This is a rough patch brought on by my own feelings and have nothing to do with outside forces... Shameful. But I'm going to work on that embarrassment too, because at its heart it's selfishness. And that needs to be fixed. And I will fix it. Soon.