Soon after deciding to cancel the planned demo, Sean made an appearance at Kinetica to apologize for botching the event and to take questions. Below is a video of his talk, taken by Steorn forum member Zen Master Lee.
Sean accepts full blame for the failure and presents an explanation for it that is, at least in some respects, more credible than what we’d gathered so far. According to Sean, they had brought three working demo devices to London. The display device ran for four hours in London before being set up in the display space. Soon after being set up, however, it stopped running. Taking it apart, they isolated the problem to the two bearings in the device, which had apparently been damaged, resulting in increased friction. They proceeded to swap out the bearings with one of their other demo devices, started it up, and found that it quickly failed as well – more damaged bearings. Swapping out again, they’ve broken a total of 5 of the 6 bearings they had with them (from the three demo devices). They do not know what is causing the bearings to break; the fact that the failure appeared to be specific to the demo space itself led to the speculation that heat from the museum lighting was at fault, but that is far from certain.
Sean blames himself for going against the advice of everyone else at the company by allowing only three days for the engineers to set up the exhibit. As a result of having “dropped the ball big time”, he’s now facing a lot of pressure to make changes – from shareholders, people in the company, and the media. These changes may include a policy of greater openness, releasing videos of the working device and possibly even blueprints, as well as staging a successful public demo as soon as possible. One change he’ll make for the next demo is that the event will not be announced until the device is in position for display, tested and working.
Sean comes across as being worn and disappointed, but still confidant in what he has. His stated intention is to produce a successful live demo in the near future. It’s still just possible that this week’s disaster will have been a bump in the road for Steorn, rather than the end of the line.