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?
cool tech June 24, 2022 posted by Nigel

Consent O’Matic – Banish Those Cookie Consent Popups for Ever

Fed up with those relentless cookie consent popups which appear ever time you land on a web page nowadays? Join the club. It’s like every time you’re trying to get something done, you have to waste 5 minutes clicking on tedious close box icons, just to read a web page. Grrr. Now some enterprising researchers from Denmark’s Aarhus University have come up with a solution. A small web browser plugin called Consent o’Matic.

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Consent O’Matic – Banish Those Cookie Consent Popups for Ever
cool tech June 23, 2022 posted by Nigel

Direct Sound Printing – researchers hope to 3D print implants into our body without surgery

A research team at Concordia University in Canada has come up with some truly science fiction health tech which takes the idea of non-invasive surgery to its ultimate state. Direct Sound Printing uses the cavitation caused by ultra high-frequency sound waves to create solids out of liquids. Which means you can create a solid implant by injecting a liquid resin into the body and then vibrate it into shape using precise instrumentation aka a ‘print head’.

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Direct Sound Printing – researchers hope to 3D print implants into our body without surgery
Eco Friendly June 10, 2022 posted by Nigel

Koolhome Solar Freezer – solar powered freezer is a game changer in hot climates

Every day millions of tons of fresh food is spoiled and wasted through faulty or inadequate cooling. Power cuts, dodgy generators and fuel poverty make it extremely hard to guarantee stable cooling in very hot countries. Now French company Koolboks has launched the Koolhome Solar Freezer, which provides reliable, low cost freezing for consumers and small business owners in Nigeria and other African countries.

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Koolhome Solar Freezer – solar powered freezer is a game changer in hot climates
Eco Friendly May 25, 2022 posted by Nigel

FAST-PETase – new enzyme technique recycles plastic in days, not years

A team of researchers at the University of Austin in Texas, has come up up with a new enzyme based method – Fast-PETase – of breaking down PET plastics in a matter of days, rather than years. The method, which was reported in the prestigious Nature journal last month, used machine learning to create the mutations of enzymes they needed.¬†More than twelve percent of all global waste is made up of PET. The plastic we use for our disposable soda…

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FAST-PETase – new enzyme technique recycles plastic in days, not years
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