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 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
Electric Cars September 18, 2021 posted by Nigel

Will solid state batteries trigger a magic new EV age?

It’s pretty common knowledge that upgrading battery tech is going to be crucial to mass adoption of electric transportation of any type.  Lithium Ion is an establish tech, but it’s too volatile and inefficient to encourage a breakthrough in electric vehicles. The betting currently seems to be on solid state batteries, which is why this solid state battery post outlining the pros and cons is interesting.

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Will solid state batteries trigger a magic new EV age?
Eco Friendly August 31, 2021 posted by Nigel

Buoyant – air freight just got interesting

Freight is a problem as far as the environment goes. Every mode of transport for goods has serious emissions, whether it’s boats, planes or trucks. Good then to see a new initiative, which if it takes off (heh) could dramatically reduce the environmental and financial cost of freight services. The Buoyant Aero freight blimp promises 250 mile all electric range and a payload of 650 lbs. All at half the operating cost of a Cessna light aircraft.

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Buoyant – air freight just got interesting
cool tech August 22, 2021 posted by Nigel

Chargie – worried about damaging your phone battery by over charging? This neat gadget has you covered.

Most of us have this secret fear of over-charging our phone battery, right? That’s why we unplug when we can, try not to leave the phone charging overnight and make sure to charge up before the battery has drained completely. But it can be hard to keep it up, which means that our phone battery often degrades faster than it could or should. Now there’s a new gadget which could solve that problem nicely.

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Chargie – worried about damaging your phone battery by over charging? This neat gadget has you covered.
cool tech August 5, 2021 posted by Nigel

Elroy Air Chaparral – this cargo drone could change the face of delivery in the future

Automation is still happening in full force, and the latest example of this is the Elroy Air Chaparral hybrid cargo drone. The craft is designed to deliver 300 to 500 pounds of cargo up to a range of 300 miles without an on-board human pilot. It’s a hybrid electric aircraft because it adds a generator to the electric power mix, to maximise lift during takeoff.

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Elroy Air Chaparral – this cargo drone could change the face of delivery in the future