The Visionaries Behind The Concept    
    In 1982 Professor Antoni Oppenheim, of the University of California coauthored an SAE paper with J. Douglas Dale University of Alberta entitled "A Rationale for Advances in the Technology of IC Engines, (SAE #820047) Professor Oppenheim had made outstanding contributions towards advancing mankind's knowledge of combustion and especially the dynamics of explosions and reactive systems. Though retired he continued doing research at the University of California until he died.  This 1982 paper noted that the mechanics of the Internal Combustion Engine, which was first patented in 1861, had reached its peak of development by the end of the 1960s. In the 1970s the auto industry was confronted with two issues, pollution, and high fuel costs.  

The Industry Chooses  Band-Aid Fixes
    What was the auto industry's response to these two issues? The whole sector chose a band-aid approach. In the mid-1970s many countries made laws mandating the use of catalytic converters to finish burning unburned fuel that were needed to keep the engine parts from melting. However, the added back-pressure they caused lowered thermal efficiency. Then in an attempt to compensate for the standard engine’s flawed mechanical design, the industry added computer controls and lowered compression ratios.

The Internal Combustion Engine Concept Needed A Totally New Design!
    Oppenheim and Dale's 1982 paper argued that far more needed to be done to fix the systemic flaws of the typical 4-stroke Otto cycle heat engine. The paper challenged the industry to radically improve the basic mechanical design of the ICE concept to provide a more favorable environment for the combustion process and the extraction of mechanical energy from the combustion process. They outlined the goal of such a new engine design as, (1) minimizing pollutant emissions, (2) maximizing engine efficiency, and (3) optimizing tolerance to a wider variety of fuels.

The Internal Combustion Engine Concept Has Far Greater Potential!
    The paper also recognized that the IC engine concept was a far superior power source for vehicles because of the concept’s inherent potential for greater efficiency, compactness, and its fuel's high energy density when compared to batteries.  There is 13.1 kWh of energy in a kg of gasoline while only about .17 kWh of energy can be stored in a kg of batteries.

Who Will Take Up The Challenge?
    In the early 1990s, Jim Duncalf, owned a small machine shop and engineering firm with clients in the computer chip industry and the local Toyota plant.  Duncalf was a long-time energy conservation advocate who had spent five years on the speaker's bureau of the Illinois Department of Energy.  He was the grandson of an Engineer who got his degree when steam engines were the main power source for society.   In 1991 while doing research to improve a client's cam-driven manufacturing machine at the West Coast Patent Library, Duncalf came across twenty-some old patents for cam-based engines.

Silicon Valley's Most Famous Pioneer Had The Same Vision! 
     After studying the patents Duncalf became fascinated with the concept especially when he learned of other successful engines that had been made in the late 1920s. One backed by Sherman Fairchild, whose company made the world's first semiconductor, and was considered the father of Silicon Valley had produced several extremely robust cam-centered engines for the US Navy. Fairchild's cam engine became the very first aircraft engine to pass the strict aircraft engine certification of the US Navy.   Duncalf reasoned that ATM's new computer-controlled (CNC) milling machines could now do a much better job making an engine than Fairchild's cam engines which were made with manually controlled milling machines and lathes.

Duncalf Faced Lots Of Discouraging Words!
     For several months Duncalf's discussion with other engineers about designing a modern version of a cam engine was met with extreme negativity. Finally, an engineer acquaintance at California's Laurence Livermore Lab set up a meeting with Professor Oppenheim. On that very first meeting, Professor Oppenheim was extremely positive about the concept as a way to improve the basic design of the ICE concept.  He quickly agreed to give his assistance and guidance in Duncalf's design efforts. Oppenheim explained the challenge he and his associate had made to the automotive sector outlined in his 1982 SAE paper and gave Duncalf a copy of the paper, along with several other articles on other engine designs. He also explained why the engine should be configured as a 2-stroke. Several brainstorming sessions later Duncalf filed his his first of many patents on the concept.

 The Team Went Down Many Dead Ends.
    Like the development of any new technical concept, trial, and error guided the team toward the most practical design as dead-end concepts were tried and abandoned.  Any new technology involves the invention of both the final product and the invention of the manufacturing and assembling process. The process of this self-funded development was destined to take years.