Tracy Witham

Tracy Witham

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Haven't created any projects yet! 

Published on Mar 14, 2015

Thank you to experiment.com!

If you're into making the world a better place, it's tough to think of a better way to go about it than what the people at experiment.com are doing. And it's been an honor for me and my reel boat t...

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Published on Feb 27, 2015

The Reel Boat Aesthetic and Promise

Clearly, this is NOT a reel boat (it's a WindRider 16 Trimaran), but it represents the correct aesthetic: simplicity and elegance. Simplicity and elegance are my design principles. ...

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Published on Feb 21, 2015

Reel Boat--component names and patent games

In patent language the drawings represent the "preferred embodiment."So in seeking intellectual property protection for an invention, the process of describing and representing the invention waits ...

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Published on Feb 13, 2015

Reel Boat Test in August

Sunrise on Lake Superior near Two Harbors, MN.My 2015 Minnesota Weather Guide Environmental Calendar says that "August is the month of light winds and sunshine..." The Two Harbors Kayak Festival ta...

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Published on Feb 07, 2015

A digression that's not beside the point

This was to be the lab note that explains the reel boat experiment planned for August 7, 8, or 9 of this year. But a small existential crisis has prompted this short essay instead—which I believe w...

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Published on Feb 01, 2015

The Reel Boat: challenges and trade offs

The background concept for the reel boat can be extrapolated from what a Stone Age hominid would have seen as a round rock continued in motion after the rest of a rock slide had stopped. So, provid...

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Hi Estelle, I need to be patient and build interest slowly. Posting here was a nice first step in that. I feel bad that experiment.com gets nothing, since--presumably--I won't fund. I have the domain name "reelboat.com," but haven't set up the site, as I have no pictures/drawings. But I will have drawings soon. So look for the web site. The experiment results will be posted there along with other developmental milestones. About building interest slowly, when the idea for the reel boat first occurred to me, I didn't tell anyone for a couple of weeks. It took me that long to feel confident that I hadn't missed something that would make me look/sound really foolish. So what are the chances of someone else taking a peek at the idea on this site and deciding in a few minutes that something terrific is happening with the reel boat? (It's nice that there are a few outliers!) Pictures and video will definitely help. So I've got work to do. Thanks again for your kind interest!
Mar 15, 2015
Reel Boats: wheeled efficiency for watercraft?
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Jane, How kind of you! As I indicated when we talked about the idea, I feel a responsibility to it because I know that it deserves to be tested. But I forgot to say that I'm equally determined to have fun in the process. Many thanks!
Mar 01, 2015
Reel Boats: wheeled efficiency for watercraft?
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Hi Thomas, I always love to watch the snowmobiles skimming across the water. I'm reminded of a funny remark "gear head" types like to make: "There's no problem a little horsepower can't solve." Except, of course, if you're interested in efficiency. The relevant prior art for the reel boat begins with a "marine car" depicted in George Young's 1866 patent (US00056660). Interestingly, it looks a whole lot like the amphibious vehicle tested by the Marines in the video that you linked to for the "UHAC." It's so odd that Young began with a (now very dated) attempt to use track to make a more efficient watercraft--for use on the newly constructed Erie Canal--and the universe of prior art subsequent to Young is ironic with respect to efficiency. My patent search is written up as a primer on the history of the idea.
Feb 27, 2015
Reel Boats: wheeled efficiency for watercraft?
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Thanks for the question, Thomas! Of course, the reel boat design will vary by intended use. But yes, typically it will be a catamaran-like watercraft--I believe. And you're correct to note that army tanks have the inclined forward and rear ends of their track, but with the opposite purpose of the reel boat; whereas the inclined track ends of a tank make for a gradual ascent and descent OVER uneven terrain, the shallow incline at ends of the reel boat's track are to gradually ascend and descend INTO the surface over which it travels. So it's not the speed of the up-and-down movement of the vehicle, but of the up-and-down motion of the track that is slowed. Now, my prototype was going to take advantage of the fact that wheels make it possible to create a single line of track that would look like a bicycle going across a small floating bridge, except that the small "bridge" will cycle around the cyclist. (Recall that I'm making a manual reel boat, since that's all I can afford to do.) I'm going to be away for a few days, but I think I'll do a post on Friday to better address your question, as it's clear that I need to better specify what I'm up to. Thanks again for your interest!
Feb 24, 2015
Reel Boats: wheeled efficiency for watercraft?
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Estelle, Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! I was beginning to fear I'd have to turn to philosophy to answer the reel boat version of "If a tree falls in the forest, and..." Seriously, I hope that you can someday enjoy knowing you are the first person to publicly express support for this idea. I'm inspired. Tracy
Feb 21, 2015
Reel Boats: wheeled efficiency for watercraft?
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Estelle, Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! I was beginning to fear I'd have to turn to philosophy to answer the reel boat version of "If a tree falls in the forest, and..." Seriously, I hope that you can someday enjoy knowing you are the first person to publicly express support for this idea. I'm inspired. Tracy
Feb 21, 2015
Reel Boats: wheeled efficiency for watercraft?
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This could make a huge difference in children's lives. Great idea for research1
Dec 25, 2014
Can storytelling improve bilingual children's literacy skills?
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