C.V. of  Craig Carmichael
Electronics Engineering Technologist,
award winning Researcher, Inventor and Innovative Product Developer

Born: Edmonton, AB, Canada 1955/01/01
Residing in Victoria BC. Single.

Always inventing, questioning, learning and seeking new and unusual perspectives - sometimes of old problems, sometimes of new.

With a prototype Electric Hubcap motor stator, January 2009

List of Inventive Accomplishments

1969 - Created a phonetic alphabet that could be fluently written as well as printed. It had a simple, logical letter system, in upper and lower case, printed and written form, for each of the 42 or so phonemes used in human speech. Many letters were the same as regular English, but in the final version I changed many to get the most consistent format.

1972 - May have graduated from high school (Strathcona Composite High School, Edmonton AB). Our family moved to Vancouver Island that June. They didn't send me a diploma, but the transcripts of my grade 12 final marks on the government exams got me into Malaspina College and BCIT.

1975 - Graduated BCIT as an Electronics Engineering Technologist, Control (Digital) Electronics Option.

1975-1979 - Worked for Tansport Canada as an electronics technician, first air services and then coast guard, radio and navigational aids (remember when there was no GPS?). Redesigned and changed some of the equipment at Victoria Coast Guard Radio station. Designed and built two dual supply, variable voltage, variable current limited lab power supplies for the electronics shop.

1981 - Designed and built a computer from scratch from available IC chips. (My third working computer, actually.) Color video, keyboard, game controls. Wrote a space war "arcade" game. Made much faster loading/saving cassette interface than any commercial computer. (Atari was 600 baud, Radio Shack was 1800: mine was 4800 and the most reliable!)

1982-1983 - Wrote the first "paint" program ever sold, TV Graphics Editor for the Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer (I was groping for a name - the term "paint program" hadn't been coined and computer video displays were TV sets), and a utility , Screen Two, that printed text on a graphics screen (the way all computers do it now). Also another "arcade" game, Planet Conquest. Wrote an article published in 68 Micro Journal, on programming "Software Sprites". (Also the way it's done now - eg, the mouse arrow.) The programs were marketed and shipped in the mail directly by me, via a magazine ad in Rainbow magazine in winter and spring of 1983. Orders came by phone or mail, and were usually paid by credit card. I wrote an improved second version of TV Graphics Editor in the summer, but didn't get it packaged and sold - the magazine ad rates went way up, just as the Color Computer was declining.

(The package covers for the "Paint" program and Screen 2 used actual screen prints from the respective program, with printer drivers I wrote for them. Primitive packaging? True, but back then "cut and paste" was done with scissors or a paper cutter and glue-stick, and lettering was with expensive typeset/printing systems, with "Lettraset" - clear plastic sheets full of rub-on transfer letters, or by hand with a felt pen as I did it. The final paste-up was photocopied onto the cardboard package display inserts.)

Packages of my 1983 software, complete with program cassettes

In the final ad I had completed a voice synthesizer cartridge, and by spelling somewhat phonetically it could speak BASIC print commands and had proper inflections for commas, periods, exclamation and question marks. It also 'knew' the numbers into the billions: PRINT "Thu numbir iz 123." (says -> "The number is one hundred twenty three") No one bought one.

In making my own computer and writing software for the "CoCo", I created a structured assembly language that vastly improved my productivity over other programmers, and I did versions for every computer I wrote software for, for all the software I wrote. My software, right up until I finally quit writing it in 2002, would take 1/10 of the program memory or less, do more, and run 5 times as fast as that of all those people working in inefficient "C" or other "high level" languages. (Notwithstanding the modern marvels of the internet, I am disgusted that these things should have become the norms and that apalling inefficiency and waste dominates, impedes and confuses computing and programming today.)

1983-84 - For Interphase Technologies, I wrote the world's first graphical/animated computer adventure game ("RPG"), Viking Raider, for the Commodore 64 computer. (Computer adventure games before Viking Raider were text: "You see a fork in the road. To the left is a blue cow standing in..." "Do you go left or right? (press L or R)") It's still a unique game if anyone has the equipment to run it. Great review and on the "10 Must buy for Christmas" list in Commodore Gaming Magazine. The week I finished it the company ran out of money and laid us all off. It was so good and so hard to pirate it was still selling well long after the company's other games were off the market.

Original 1984 Viking Raider poster

1984 - Wrote an excellent (for the day) word processor, CRAIGSWORD, for the upgraded version of the Color Computer with 128K or 512K of memory and a 640 x 400 pixel video display. Sold a copy or two for $20 each. Judging from the several verbal complimentary user reports I received, it was much pirated and widely used and liked, at least around Victoria.

1984 - Invented an improved typing keyboard, the Carmichael keyboard, optimized for computer text editing use rather than for a simple typewriter. This keyboard is to the renowned Dvorak keyboard as Dvorak is to Qwerty. I started with Dvorak's layout, and I wrote several computer programs to analyze key usages, and I typed and typed to uncover any frequent annoyances, which resulted in some revisions. (For example, the letter "M" proved to be the one and only common letter that works out well placed to the right of the right fourth finger in the home row. "Shift" and nothing else was the perfect key for the left thumb.)

I even have a great marketing plan for this one: Give a few away to elementary schools where kids are learning to type. They don't have the prejudices adults do. In ten or fifteen years you'd hardly be able to give away a qwerty keyboard! I was always too busy with other things to get this going, and moved on to other interests. (A "partner" absconded with the working prototype.)

Home keys are the most common letters: O A E I and T N R S (all vowels are on the left hand). Easy fingerings to learn. Delete is to the left of the left little finger. Having to type two different consecutive
letters with the same finger is rare. SHIFT is on the left thumb for easy typing of entire words in capitals, while SPACE is on the right one. The arrows keys, up, down, left, right, are down one from the left home row - just move the entire hand down a bit. "TH" is used so often in English (as often as "H" by itself) that there's a "TH" key, making (for example) "the" two keystrokes (and never "teh"). With "shift latch" that lets you type a single capital letter by simply first tapping the SHIFT key (which is always easier than holding it down), the combinations "TH", "Th" and "th" are all available. By removing oft used keys from outlying positions on the weak fourth fingers, carpal tunnel syndrome is eliminated. The obsolete and now absurd staggered key columns are straightened. (Hasn't anybody noticed the keys don't attach by levers at the top of the keyboard any more?!?) Here is one mock-up, done with an angled layout (popular for a while at the time I made it):

1985 - Developed a complete computer system, Aerovoice for monitoring mechanical and engine conditions in small aircraft, and alerting pilot to problems by voice and video. It was installed and tested in an award winning homebuilt aircraft. Didn't go anywhere commercially.

1986 - Developed a complete computer system (actually begun in late 1984) to control HVAC and other systems in schools. Installed them in 10 Victoria schools in the late 1980's. Industry insiders rated my Micro Energy Manager's Control BASIC language as the best one written and it had many useful features never seen then or since in commercial units. This project won me the BC 1990 Outstanding Technical Achievement award, a 1990 BC Hydro Energy Innovator's Award, and a 1990 ASHRAE Regional Award for outstanding achievement as part of a team that reduced energy consumption at a large school. By 1989 the manager decided the district should use commercial units that were then coming available at reasonable prices, and we stopped installing them.

1990-2002 - Wrote the world's best designed computer operating system, Oases, and a lot of excellent software for it. In fact, I wrote far more software than anyone should attempt to code in their entire life. Unfortunately, being the world's worst promoter of my work and having been ill several times after 1995 (largely outworkings of a serious 1993 car accident), I was never able to replace Microsoft, and the marketplace has moved on. (It may sound like a joke now, but in the mid 1990's it certainly could have been done, with this product as the means.) Before about 1998-1999, I never seriously considered that such a valuable project could fail, and that I would end up broke myself. I quit my school district job in 1995. The world will never know the blessing it missed! For me it was something of a lost decade, dividing my younger, more energetic life from the later "over the hill" one.

1995 - Wrote a bunch of RLE decoding and graphics manipulation software for a video game company "3DO" (now a branch of Disney Studios) under a contract. It was very successful (and good money) but it didn't recur as I didn't want to go work full time for them. Since then, I haven't had any source of significant income
[Oct. 2009].

1999 to 2004 Wrote some very nice (IMHO beautiful) instrumental music. Much of it was for my new concept of musical ensemble, the "Consort Orchestra", in essence a SATB recorder quartet plus a string quartet. It was hard to get that size of group together to play it even though it was fun and enjoyable music, and after putting on a concert in 2004 at my own expense which was completely ignored except by friends and relatives (I was especially disappointed in the CBC), I quit music writing. I also wrote mixed instrument trios, two recorder sonatas, two recorder concertos and a few other miscellaneous works. http://www.saers.com/~craig

2000 - In this year my associative and cognitive abilities were tested in several tests by psychologists in connection with a medical problem. The several scores placed me in the top 10% to the top 2% of the population. Knowing how someone scores on these sort of tests might be as valuable in some instances as knowing a person's educational experience for employers searching for top talent (no I'm not looking for a job!).

2003 - Wrote a short booklet, Fundamental Principles of Democratic Government, which outlines the best governing principles in the most advanced forms that are known or logically proposed. Written at the time of the Iraq invasion, it is intended as a guide for countries emerging from dictatorship to democracy as well as pointing the way to improving current systems of government in more progressive countries, which all still violate various basic principles, some of which are explained even in high school political textbooks. I had been collecting ideas and ideals on this subject for 20 years. I wanted a short but comprehensive survey. I put it on the web. http://www.saers.com/~craig/FundamentalDemocracy.html

2004-2006 - Developed the world's best alto recorder, the Supercordertm: a louder, more versatile, keyed, rather orchestral instrument somewhat like a clarinet. (In fact, I've played it in orchestras in place of flute or oboe.) I believe I have created the easiest fingering system of any chromatic woodwind, and it is the only recorder in the world that can be easily fine tuned by ear while playing, allowing quiet to loud playing all in tune, plus a fabulous pitch vibrato. The tuning hole covered by the lip could easily have been invented in 1700 but nobody thought of it until me in 2004! (To date I've sold all of about 6 of these fabulous instruments - 4 of those long after I'd stopped making them. What a promoter and salesman I am! But I must also confess that for all their advanced features, it took me a long time to get good clear sound without hiss out of them. If I'd known any other recorder maker in this part of the world, he could probably have straightened me out in no time.)

2005-2007 - Noticed two major things that NASA, LPL and ESA didn't about Titan, the rather Earthlike planet that orbits Saturn, following the parachute landing of the Huygens probe on January 14th 2005. I did considerable photographic field work to demonstrate the obvious liquid (liquid methane) nature of Titan's surface in the Huygens views, which has amazingly been misunderstood as being "dry". And I put together a Huygens image "mosaic" of Titan's surface that demonstrates the Huygens DISR team incorrectly identified the exact landing point, and thus, by chance, the nature of that point, a crucial item in their conclusions. In spite of overwhelming and increasing evidence - not to mention the obvious liquid nature of the surface and features seen in the low-quality monochrome images themselves - I'm not being heard and the space sciences community isn't putting the pieces of the puzzle together themselves. So far, they blindly continue to misunderstand Titan's surface. Some of what I say about Titan sounds incredible, but I'm only going where the mounting evidence is pointing and I marvel at peoples' Earth-centric prejudices and blindness in this supposedly enlightened and scientific age.

This is in fact only part of my extensive space research on worlds of the "central solar system", the Jupiter and Saturn systems of worlds, an interest beginning in the 1980s but more specifically in 1995 when the Galileo reached Jupiter and the internet started making the images and some of the data available. I present several major conclusions that doubtless seem strange to most people - so far - but which follow logically from known information, mostly found by the Galileo and Cassini spacecraft.

2006 - 2008 Designed what I believe is a PRACTICAL ocean wave powered electrical generating system in April and started assembling a test/demo unit in May. Ran out of steam without finishing it, and it sat half done in my back yard and garage for a year. An endless source of power greater than hydroelectricity from rivers and dams (and probably cheaper to harness) lies unused at our fingertips as we squander the world's fossil fuel reserves. I later finished the mechanism and, after a couple of fiascos, mounted it on my boat trailer and tried testing it at boat launches on very windy days, but there were too many minor but cumulative "glitches" in the design for it to work in the small waves available. Essentially I can see the changes that are needed, but have had other preoccupations.

2006 - In June, July and August I made a new concept pivoting blade electric sawmill. It's electric and simply uses very large table saw blades, mostly with very thin kerf. It will cut valuable logs up to 2-1/2' in diameter into smooth boards turning the minimum possible amount into sawdust. It can even cut 1/4 inch thick x 5 inches wide guitar side pieces straight from the log! (It has a 7.5 HP, 3600 RPM motor I rewound from 3 phase to single phase so I could plug it into a 30 amp, 230 volt dryer outlet. No one in motor shops or on the web had any idea how to do this -- in fact there were people telling me it couldn't be done and predicting dire consequences! But in 1974 we took motors in electronics at BCIT: it didn't seem like rocket science and after some study I figured out a good coil configuration and how many turns of wire to use. It runs great: specs right on!) Now I'm collecting logs and selling "exotic" lumber... and I actually sell a bit!

The blade is shown pivoted horizontally

2006 or 2007 - Made a device for shifting logs endways, the Log Hockey Stick. A peavey is a great device for rolling and shifting logs weighing hundreds of pounds, even 1000, without heavy power equipment. With a block of wood as a wedge, it can also pivot them to face the desired rolling direction. However, if there isn't room to pivot the log, or if it needs to be moved lengthways instead of rolling it, for example through a narrow gate, the problem becomes difficult. It's easier to show it than to explain it in words. In the first image, the right end of the log is behind an obstacle. The stick, a steel pipe shaft with a 6" wide, 18" long flat plate welded to the side of one end, is inserted (almost) flat, by one means or another, under the log. In the center image, the handle has been picked up, lifting the log (6 inches minus the amount it sinks into the dirt) and shifting it a few inches to the left (theoretically six.). In the right image, the handle is lowered to the left (with care) and the log moves another 6 inches to the left, total one foot. It is now out from behind the obstacle. (It started out entirely behind and was in fact shifted three or four times to get it out.)

2006 - 2007 - Finished the Permanent Magnet Generator (PMG) for the Wave Powered Generator and tested it. Got 12V 30A from each phase (3 phase machine) at just 400 RPM. (that's 1080 watts) Thus at just 600 RPM (and 60 Hz) it would be somewhere around 2430 watts, over three horsepower, from quite a small unit. This is an amazing power for such a low RPM. This is a NIB supermagnet axial flux design with the problem of how to put iron into a multiple rotor axial machine solved. The key: no laminates - simply nail gun nail strips in the coil cores! (In 2007 I heard that someone had recently done one with iron filings that must be somewhat similar. But I doubt filings could be put in with the magnetic potential of 'solid' iron without shorting, and I haven't heard of the idea again since. Others have suggested ferrite, but that would be still less actual magnetic iron in the core.)

2007 (July) - Invented a new design of violin bridge, the split bridge. Tests on my violin show a large increase in volume, at least 3 dB on a meter. Subjectively, it certainly seems to sound twice as loud as it did. And that's knowing not more about violins than lots of players and just on the first try! The theory was to split the bridge into two independent halves, each with only two strings on it. That way, only one "dead" string would be damping the vibrations from the "live" one being bowed, instead of three. Evidently in 500 years of violin making, none of the revered luthiers like Stradavarius ever thought of this design... they simply tried to squeeze the most out of the old one despite its inherent faults! I had about 5 fine violin players try it out at a music camp. All but one thought it was fabulous, and someone else bought my prototype/spare and wished she'd had it on the night before for her chamber music concert! Strange to say, this silly little thing I can make and install in two hours seems to have more potential for generating good income than any gain from all the seemingly much more valuable projects I've poured so much time and energy into over the last 17 years! (It didn't -- Most players didn't like the unusual look!) I found the pizzicatto was so improved I can play the violin  plucked or with a pic, like a mandolin or guitar, for instrumental accompaniment in singing songs.

2008 (Jan-) - 2009 (-present) - Current Work:  The Electric Hubcap Project

I'm creating a complete system to turn "any old car" economically into an ultra efficient plug-in electric hybrid. This work is steadily progressing, with valuable parts completed and running (the motor and motor controller) and the rest
(magnetic torque converter and better batteries) well advanced in concepts and design, with various prototype components and experiments complete or in process.

I realized the large diameter but short "pancake" style generator I made for the wave power would mount as a slim, high torque, electric motor on the outside of a car wheel (or perhaps two wheels). That way, all the car's existing components are undisturbed, and the car can be driven on electricity, or on gasoline "as usual". Furthermore, with the high efficiency of direct coupling to the wheel the motor needed less power, and that combined with needing only enough electric range for a typical daily commute instead of for the longest trips, only a small weight and volume of batteries would be required.

There were experienced automotive people who said this couldn't work. I couldn't find fault with their logic, and I wasn't quite sure how it would work, but I was sure it was a matter of working out the problems one by one and I persevered. I thought it might take eight months. It's now been twenty two, but most of the details are worked out and the light at the end of the tunnel is ahead.

The Electric Hubcap Motor - is a new type of axial flux, direct drive, brushless 'PMSM' motor, the Electric Hubcaptm. It started as a spin-off idea from the PMG for wave power. It turned into something considerably different, but still with the unusual "pancake" motor shape: large diameter and very short length. Being short, low RPM, and only 45 pounds or less, it can be mounted onto the outside of a car wheel. Instead of gears or transmission, my efficient Magnetic Torque Converter will optimally couple the power of the motor to the car's wheel, allowing a much smaller motor to drive a car using less energy. This motor can turn an ordinary gas engine car into an ultra-efficient plug-in hybrid that gets 1.5 to 2 times the range from the same batteries as 'typical' electric car drive systems. It is such a simple motor it can be made at home, and it's 5 horsepower. I designed it for 36-40 volts (and up to 120+ amps) both to minimize battery requirements and for electrical safety. The story on this isn't finished, as in 2009 I've been working on Microcrystalline Motor Coil Cores for additional efficiency and greater economy of manufacture. This type of motor could find many valuable applications.

Concurrently with the motor, I also made a three phase solid state brushless motor controller. The controller design is perhaps unique in being a "single box" solution to electric driving with the controller, all electrical components and the wiring entirely enclosed (except of course batteries, operator controls, the motor and their cables). A new design of heat sink fins is made of clamped & folded aluminum roofing flashing instead of specialty thick-finned aluminum extrusions, and several other aspects of the design are unique. The actual controller is a removable side of the box, so that it may be repaired or replaced without dismounting the box and disturbing other wiring.


2008 - 2009 - Concurrently with the Electric Hubcap I've been working to create better chemistry batteries. I've had limited success so far, but some good and interesting chemicals and processes are happening. Having examined many elements and their electrochemical "redox" reactions, one potentially worthy chemistry appears to be nickel and manganese, perhaps in neutral salt electrolyte solution instead of alkaline. This should work and have about 67% more energy per weight than nickel-metal hydride, from a very economical negative electrode material! There are also other elements such as lanthanum, antimony, praseodymium and terbium which could possibly make better positive electrodes than nickel and bear investigation. Antimony may also be more economical, and lanthanum would be perhaps similar.


May -October 2009 - Working on a Magnetic Torque Converter to variably and optimally gear a motor to a car wheel
with high efficiency, for the Electric Hubcap project. I'm sure the variable coupling and high efficiency will allow the hybridized car to be driven, especially in the city, with a much smaller electric motor, using much less power, than most people currently believe is possible.

So far, some parts have been built, but it isn't finished. When I started, I was only sure it could be done, somehow, because the motor can create a rotating supermagnet field, and supermagnets can act on other supermagnets with tremendous force. A few working experiments have been tried, and the operating theory and design of a practical overall configuration has been gradually evolving and solidifying in my mind.


September - October 2009 - Found that lead-acid batteries can be renewed - and probably prevented from deteriorating as they are well known to do - by putting an additive in the electrolyte: sodium sulfate salt. Experiments so far have shown capacity of worn out batteries can be immediately doubled. Experiments continue to determine optimal amounts and to see if complete renewal is possible or will be gained over time and if new batteries will last 3 to 5 times longer - such appears to be the potential. I am publicizing my findings on internet discussion groups related to batteries.

============== end of list - so far! ================

In 2007 I said: The best things I've invented or developed couldn't be turned into one man businesses, and a continuing disappointment in much of my life and work over the last fifteen years or so has been my inability to connect with promoters, investors or insiders who have the faith required to turn valuable inventions into successful commercial products that change the world. I seem to find myself to be a rejected if not resented outsider in every field of endeavor, while sometimes making more progress than the insiders owing to bringing fresh perspectives, many skills and substantial general experience to bear.

2009: Since then, speaking with others, I've discovered it's not just me: few who work on really innovative things get an ounce of support from anyone (including government programs intended to foster innovation), and if their work is successful, industry simply adopts it, without compensation to the inventor. (Some people spend their lives in court - and mountains of money - trying to get those industries who've benefitted to pay them. The big winners are the lawyers.) There's some "catch 22s" to creating and trying to promote something new. First, funding agencies won't believe it's possible or practical, much less that some unemployed person on their doorstep could do it. (Of course, if you were employed, you would be being directed what to do by someone else, not free to pursue an invention. University grad students can get NRC/IRAP money much more easily than a top inventor can.) Once you have something, if you don't reveal what you've done, no one will believe you have anything worth paying for, and if you do, well, they now know the idea and they know that it does work, and so why bother to pay for it? Less than 1% of inventors do well off their work. Government will (quite freely) grant you a patent, but they won't lift a finger to help if (when) anyone illegally infringes on it, so really it's just a fast way to actually pay to give away your work. Worse, the most valuable patents find their way into the hands of vested interests and are used to suppress new technology entirely, to prevent anyone from making or using it. (Eg, Chevron-Cobasys has bought 125 patents on Ni-MH batteries so large ones can't be produced by anyone, anywhere, to power electric cars, because they are a success. 2010: They've just bought one for nanotubes for lithium batteries that researchers at more than one university have spent 2 or 3 years developing. Born and quickly dead!)

Last updated: October 19th 2009 (added notes Nov. 22, 2010)