The concept

The Dauphin is a pedal boat coated with a superhydrophobic material with an innovative biomimetic propulsion system that mimics the movement of a dolphin’s tail.

The background

Pedal boats, such as those developed by Pelican long existed. They are fun to drive, but you still need to pedal to sail on the lake. It would be nice to save energy by reducing friction on the hull, increasing the efficiency of the propulsion system and harness energy from the sun to get an extra boost if needed. That’s basically what the concept of the Dauphin offers!


Imagine the tail of a dolphin, which rises and falls, the resulting force pushes the body of the dolphin forward. This is the principle of oscillating propulsion system (OPS). The pedal rotation may then be converted by a rod rotating about a sprocket in oscillatory movement. (Similar to the outboard engine concept Iruka. It would also be possible to change the amplitude of the movement and speed as well as the surface and shape of the wing.

These changes would be made depending on the type of use and according to the shape of the boat. Basically, it would be possible to save up to 20% energy, which would be used to go further on the lake or to move faster.

Optionally, a small electric motor could assist the propulsion system. The two pontoons would be covered with solar cells converting solar energy to recharge the 12-volt batteries located within the pontoons. The Dauphin is also equipped with localized onboard charger, so you could recharge it from the dock with a single power cord.

To reduce drag, each pontoon is coated with a super hydrophobic coating. The idea is to create a very smooth surface that would repel water, increasing the efficiency of the hull moving through the water.

What it’s used for

The Dauphin is a personal watercraft. It emits no CO2 and uses the sun or human power to improve your trips on the lake. There is a demand for this type of craft from cottage owners adjacent to green lakes. Of course, like any project, it will have to be developed to meet customer performance requirements.Is the innovative oscillating propulsion really effective? The only way to find out is to build a prototype.


The Dauphin concept was imaged in November 2014 by Charles Bombardier and the images were created by Niklas Wejedal. Niklas lives in Lysekil in Sweden, and studied at the Institute of Design of Umea. He currently works as senior designer and he also created the images of the concept of Marlin hydrofoil.