shapewave® website up!

We’re totally stoked to inform you that our website is online:
we’ve started assembly of our robot welder, aiming at showing some machine build inflatable parts in a month from now.

The project accelerated when Roland Schmehl convinced me to attend the Milan AWEC of last year, and I still believe there are a couple of very interesting applications in soft, hybrid and semi rigid wings, as well as in (kite) turbine blades.

good winds,
Rudo & team


@Rudo , thank you for the information.



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What is the patent number? And is the patent for the welding machine only, or the ribbon stitching inflatable concept in general?


US2023211563 (A1)

PDF available on

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The maximum pressure being 1.4 bar (that of inflatable boards), I wonder if use cases could include an inflatable version of rigid blades (i.e. for Daisy or @someAWE_cb ), or rigid kites (i.e. of type Makani or Kitemill), saving weight and minimizing crash damages, possibly including an inflatable beam as for the shown wingsails for boats.


From the website (bold type added):

The Airborne Wind Energy sector is receiving a lot of attention from bright minds all over the world and will start playing a part in renewable energy production very soon. The first systems are being sold right now and come as soft wings such as Leading Edge Inflatable kites (LEI) or ram-air kites, or as rigid wings mostly from carbon fiber.

The same counts for numerous initiatives to propel vessels with kites.

shapewave® technologies ability to build full ram-air, hybrid or fully inflatable wings could potentially revolutionise these industries with safer, more durable and more efficient wings to reduce the cost per KWh.

pressure class: 0.0 to 0,05 bar "

OK so if you read their hype, they talk up the intelligence level of AWE people, or at least of people giving AWE “attention”. This is how it starts. “Really Smart (bright) People”. The question is, when will all that “brightness” bear fruit, and if not, is it for real in the first place?

Still in the same sentence, they give the next seemingly obligatory, definitive, prediction of “future” progress:
“will start… playing a part… soon”. OK so we’re back to “all progress is in the future (and always will be?)”, “playing a part”, implying you should water your expectations down a bit - kites can maybe “lower” fuel use (not eliminate it), or provide some limited optionality in choice of wind energy systems - for, say, “remote islands” or “disaster relief(!!!)”, but can it? When?

Then we’re treated to that old questionable theme of “being sold right now”. Yeah, yeah, yeah, there’s a “factory”, they are “selling systems worldwide”, and it seems that the number of systems sold is still one(?), and there are maybe a couple of pilot (research-ish) projects to help pull ships, as usual, (after being abandoned by skysails itself) which has been going on for several years now.

Anyway, the idea of criss-crossing internal tension elements to stiffen and hold the shape of an inflated structure, is a great idea, and something I’ve always had in mind since I was a kid, way back in the roaring 1960’s, and I’m sort of surprised at how little attention it’s received over the years, so I hope it helps, but still, you have to see, this is in many ways, just “more of the same” - hype ahead of any real accomplishments. Maybe something to get excited about, maybe not, we can only know, in the future…future… future… - and by the way, speaking of “the future” this message is from the future: 2024! Happy New Year! :slight_smile:

Haha @dougselsam your reply just made my day! Good fun. Thank you for the new years wishings, same to you all!
I’ve gotta agree we run some hyperbole on our web page. But being a startup company sort of makes it hard to boast about our past accomplishments. And who knows, we can run into some disappointments in that bright shiny future.
So far so good though, as we’re finishing our first prototype welding robot in the weeks to come. That’s an overseeable future. Only then it makes sense for us to start testing different constructions for different applications. We’re putting out news bits on our LinkedIn page, feel free to follow us there.
for some of my personal past accomplishments, you can find some here. I’ve been dreaming of lightweight constructions just like you, until I found I knew enough to start shapewave.

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Glad someone is going beyond just thinking about it, and doing something about it. :slight_smile:

Hello @Rudo ,

I wonder if your shapewave® technology would be suitable for inflatable kites studied and built by Toyota Mothership project.

The following issue could perhaps be solved: “the asymmetric deformation of the left and right wings due to the use of the “inflatable structure””.

On the article linked just above, the contact is:

Contact Information (about this article)

Frontier Research Center

And a quote about their philosophy:

It has been five and a half years since the launch of the Mothership Project, and we are now aware that the project, which started with three people at the beginning, has grown into a project with colleagues all over the world and inquiries from researchers all over the world.

Thanks Pierre, we’ll have a look!

I cant wait to look into this!

This has kind of been my adage recently

“People who think we don’t need to innovate hardware anymore are wrong”
-Marc Raibert
Boston Dynamics.