Author Archives: Nigel

Full Name: Nigel Powell Website:
Info: Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don't we all?
Eco Friendly May 15, 2022 posted by Nigel

Project CAVForth – UKs first autonomous bus to accept passengers in the summer

The UK’s first autonomous bus service – codenamed Project CAVForth – has completed testing without passengers and is now scheduled to run with passengers starting in two or three months time. The route will cover some 14 miles of scenic Scottish countryside near Edinburgh. Well maybe not that scenic, the bus will operate on a Park and Ride route across the Forth Road Bridge delivering 36 passengers to an Edinburgh bus station.

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Project CAVForth – UKs first autonomous bus to accept passengers in the summer
Eco Friendly April 26, 2022 posted by Nigel

How to build a DIY home bike generator

With fuel prices rocketing up in price, it’s no wonder that many of us are looking for alternatives. Waiting times for a new EV range between six and eighteen months, and there are even reports of price gazumping on certain models. So it’s great news to read that Low Tech Magazine has an article on building your own DIY home bike generator. Now the article is a weeny bit tongue in cheek, but there’s no question that this sort of…

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How to build a DIY home bike generator
Eco Friendly April 11, 2022 posted by Nigel

Solar Brick – solar panels that look like a standard brick wall

Canadian solar company Mitrex has developed a new product called Solar Brick which mimics the effect of a brick wall while delivering traditional solar panel electricity. The clever facade panels can produce 330W per panel and can be used for new builds or retrofits of older buildings. The advantages of being able to add a layer of solar cladding to an older surface opens up a whole new market for building upgrades.

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Solar Brick – solar panels that look like a standard brick wall
Eco Friendly March 7, 2022 posted by Nigel

Boxy – the ultimate, cash free convenience store made from recycled containers

There’s no question that a lot of current carbon emissions come from private car transportation. Cut out the super short shopping trips for ‘some milk and a paper’, and we would dramatically cut the emissions from our suburban and country living. But it’s hard to shift our habits, unless we can make local shopping so convenient that it’s a no-brainer to use. Now a French company has started to fight back. Boxy convenience stores are made out of recycled shipping…

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Boxy – the ultimate, cash free convenience store made from recycled containers
Eco Friendly February 18, 2022 posted by Nigel

This $4 solar desalination system can provide clean drinking water for a family

The boffins at MIT have come up with a super low cost desalination plant which they say will deliver continuous clean water to a family. What makes it special is the fact that it doesn’t get clogged up by salt residues, which means it stays operative after long periods of use without cleaning. The trick? Using a non-wick system which instead uses 2.5 cm holes which don’t get clogged up with salt.

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This $4 solar desalination system can provide clean drinking water for a family
cool tech February 7, 2022 posted by Nigel

Researchers build camera the size of a grain of sand

We’re a little confused. A recent report has announced a super small camera which is the size of a ‘coarse’ grain of salt, which sounds great. The camera, developed by Princeton and Washington Universities appears to be quite a miraculous feat of engineering. The key fact is that it’s not only small, but produces images of much higher quality than previous tiny cameras have before. So far so cool.

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Researchers build camera the size of a grain of sand
Eco Friendly January 12, 2022 posted by Nigel

New ice phobic coating keeps snow off solar panels

Everyone knows that solar panels are awesome, right? But unfortunately they can be a little finnicky about their performance. For instance, the electrical output drops significantly if any part of a panel is in shade, say from a nearby tree or chimney. Another thing that really messes up solar power output is snow. No exposed panel, no power. Simple really. Now a team from Michigan University seem to have cracked the snowy panel problem with a new spray on material…

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New ice phobic coating keeps snow off solar panels
general January 1, 2022 posted by Nigel

Happy New Year to all from us here at Ferret Towers

Well, that was definitely a year! mY kEYbOaRD BROKE, and all sort of weird stuff happened to my teeth. And I’m sure there were other things going on in the background involving viruses, vaccines and motley disasters. But now it’s time to look forward to an exciting new year, full of fun and frolics. Maybe. In the words of one wise wit, I think we’re all hoping that 2022 will be a year full of precedented events. You know, like…

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Happy New Year to all from us here at Ferret Towers
Eco Friendly December 31, 2021 posted by Nigel

Tech of the Year 2021? Our vote goes to solar power. Again

Regular readers will know that The Ferret is a big fan of solar power. No other technology has the potential to replace our energy needs so efficiently and conveniently as solar. Sure, wind and sea turbines offer superb output at scale, but unless you have a few million in spare change, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to enjoy your own wind or sea power anytime soon. It’s only solar, with it’s local, household level (or even vehicle level)…

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Tech of the Year 2021? Our vote goes to solar power. Again
Electric Cars December 12, 2021 posted by Nigel

CyberLandr – the world’s first Cybertruck camper van

What’s the definition of vaporware? How about a brand new concept vehicle, based on an electric car that has never been sold on the market? A concept which has gained an instant valuation of $400 million? If that kind of stuff leaves you bemused and amused, then you’ll love the CyberLandr. The new electric camper van, based on the Tesla Cybertruck, will apparently retail at around $45,000 (which seems ridiculously cheap to us) when it finally arrives sometime whenever.

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CyberLandr – the world’s first Cybertruck camper van
Eco Friendly November 21, 2021 posted by Nigel

Yara Birkeland – world’s first autonomous electric containership launched

Those clever Norwegians have gone and built the world’s first electric autonomous containership. Which is a big deal. The 80 metre long Yara Birkeland had its maiden voyage last week, and when operational will apparently cut the emissions of 40,000 truckloads of freight per year. Initial routes will be very local, delivering fertilizer from a factory to distribution depot down the Norwegian coast.

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Yara Birkeland – world’s first autonomous electric containership launched
Bizarre October 21, 2021 posted by Nigel

Walletmor – the implanted credit card that lets you pay with a wave

Anyone who’s ever forgotten their purse or credit card and found themselves embarrassed at a check-out till, now have a new option. The Walletmor is an implantable wallet which uses NFC tech to let you pay for stuff with a wave of your arm. The developers boast that the implant is accepted worldwide and cannot be hacked. The implant is apparently ‘painless’ to insert in a 15 minute session and costs €199. 

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Walletmor – the implanted credit card that lets you pay with a wave
Electric Cars October 15, 2021 posted by Nigel

Stella Vita – van life gets the perfect solar electric makeover

Oh how we love this! The Stella Vita is the world’s first completely self sufficient mobile home. And it’s not just some remote concept, it actually works. The vehicle has been developed by am amazing student team in Eindhoven, Netherlands and has just completed an astounding 1800 mile run down from Holland to Spain using solar power and electric mains charge.

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Stella Vita – van life gets the perfect solar electric makeover
Electric Cars October 13, 2021 posted by Nigel

Electric Double Decker Bus – updates the London scene with zero emissions

Let’s say you’re the owner of a small to medium size city. And you want – no need – to improve your finances as fast as possible. You could turn it into a gambling metro. You could offer tax advantages for doing business there. Or you could, with a bit of imagination, invest $240,000 in this glorious rip-off of a London double decker bus. But electric. And run tours around your city all day long. Wowwee.

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Electric Double Decker Bus – updates the London scene with zero emissions
Electric Cars September 23, 2021 posted by Nigel

Nio ET7 – this flagship 1000 km range EV points to the future

So it looks like a Tesla, sounds like a Tesla and goes like the wind. The new flagship Nio ET7 electric car really points the way to a sea of classy looking rivals for the title of posh EV of the year. We like the design and the range from the 100kWh battery looks magnificent. But like everything else, the real proof will be in the reliability and support services.

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Nio ET7 – this flagship 1000 km range EV points to the future