UK Company Pulsar Fusion Demonstrates Green, Mach-7 Rocket in Switzerland

On Saturday 26 November, In the sleepy mountain town of Gstaad – Switzerland, British company Pulsar Fusion demonstrated its latest green hybrid rocket engine.

An impressive visual plume effect of supersonic shock diamonds, typical of a high-temperature high mass flow rate rocket exhaust, could be seen through the snowstorm as the team operated the engine in quickly changing conditions. The exhaust speeds of the engine were recorded at Mach 7. This engine would be capable of launching a small rocket to an altitude of several 10s of km, well above UK airspace, or powering the upper stage of a rocket with a larger booster stage into orbit.

UK Company Pulsar Fusion Demonstrates Green, Mach-7 Rocket in Switzerland
UK Company Pulsar Fusion Demonstrates Green, Mach-7 Rocket in Switzerland

CEO, Richard Dinan commented: “British companies with space ambitions must be international and fast-moving, achieving technological milestones on time and on budget whilst being environmentally conscious. Pulsar’s objective is to build world-class technologies that serve as a force for good.

Pulsar’s green (non-toxic) hybrid rocket engine combusts nitrous oxide (N2O) oxidiser and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) fuel and oxygen.  The HDPE can be obtained from recycled plastic and the two fuels burn together to produce a non-toxic plume.

The propellants used – nitrous oxide N2O and polyethylene HDPE – are some of the cleanest available to the space industry, producing an exhaust of largely water vapour and having an extremely low production energy requirement, resulting in one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world for an engine of this size.

It is a new model that enables Pulsar to manufacture these compact rocket engines at record lead times, with an enhanced safety factor as due to the design, these engines have relatively benign failure modes in comparison with conventional liquid propulsion engines.

The Pulsar Fusion team with Richard Dinan, pictured third left
The Pulsar Fusion team with Richard Dinan, pictured third left

WHAT DOES PULSAR FUSION DO?

Pulsar Fusion is primarily engaged in the research of high-speed propulsion and clean energy applications from nuclear fusion.

Pulsar Fusion received UK government funding in September 2021 to further develop its HET (Hall Effect Thruster) plasma satellite engines, capable of 20 km / second particle exhaust speeds. These Pulsar thrusters have recently been tested at Harwell’s facilities where they withstood 20g’s of vibration, simulating a rocket launch. Pulsar now seeks to IOD test these engines. (In-Orbit Demonstration).

The company’s ultimate milestone is to produce a hyper-speed propulsion engine using nuclear fusion technologies of which it has been researching for nine years which could eventually be used for interplanetary travel – and which scientists say could halve the journey time from Earth to Mars. A first prototype is expected in 2025.

HOW WAS THIS TEST DIFFERENT TO THE PULSAR UK TESTS?

The test in Gstaad ran the engine on liquid oxidiser, compared to only gas in the UK. The oxidiser quantity and engine impulse were increased by a factor of nearly 10, and the chamber pressure raised from around 5 bar to over 20 bar on the first Swiss test to nearly 50 bar on the 2nd one. Pulsar supercharged the flow with nitrogen pressurant which has not been done in the UK before and in doing so raised the thrust to near the design value of 12kN or just over a tonne of thrust.

WHY DEMONSTRATE IN SWITZERLAND?

The demonstration took place on the Gstaad Runway, an idyllic spot surrounded by mountains. Pulsar sees Switzerland as a country that is well placed to support advanced, environmentally friendly space technologies. The company strives to be a British company that can demonstrate its technologies to international clients and Switzerland is an ideal gateway for such an ambition. Pulsar hopes to carry out further tests in the region in 2022 and invite European space clients to attend. Additionally, Pulsar is in contact with most of the UK launch sites and would probably start with further static tests and low altitude flights at Machrihanish, near Cambletown on Argyll before moving to one of the other sites such as Space Hub Sutherland on the mainland or Spaceport-1 on the Hebrides for high altitude flights towards and beyond the Karman line at 100km.

Amazon Black Friday – Favourite Deals of the Day

Black Friday is upon us, the busiest shopping day of the year! Named after the fact that most stores end the day ‘in the black’, the internet is swimming with amazing deals.

Sitting at the front of the queue is the online giant that is Amazon.

I’ve listed a few deals below which I think are amazing value for money. If you do happen to order through my links, I may earn a small commission.

Have Fun!

Fire HD 10 tablet | 10.1″, 1080p Full HD, 32 GB, Black – with Ads – Black Friday price £79 (£89 without ads)

Fire HD 10 tablet | 10.1", 1080p Full HD, 32 GB, Black - with Ads
Fire HD 10 tablet | 10.1″, 1080p Full HD, 32 GB, Black – with Ads

Even at it’s normal retail price, this is serious value for money. A very high specification 10″ Tablet.

Great Value at £79 with ads (promotional offers on the unlock screen) or £89 without.

The Fire tablets run FireOS which is based on Android but without Google Applications. You can use it for Microsoft Office, Amazon Movies, Netflix, Disney+, NowTV, YouTube, Channel 4, Channel 5, BBC iPlayer, ITV and so much more.

A super bright screen, fast charge through USB Type-C with cable and charging plug. I recommend buying the fabulous ‘made for Amazon’ All-in-one Bluetooth keyboard

  • Fast and responsive: powerful octa-core processor and 3 GB RAM. 50% more RAM than the previous generation.
  • Up to 12-hour battery life and 32 or 64 GB of internal storage. Add up to 1 TB with microSD (sold separately).
  • Brighter display: vivid 10.1″ 1080p full HD display is 10% brighter than the previous generation, with more than 2 million pixels.
  • Enjoy your favourite apps like BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and more through Amazon’s Appstore (Google Play not supported, subscription fees may apply).
  • Stay connected: download apps such as Zoom or ask Alexa to make video calls to friends and family.

Available in Black, Denim, Lavendar and Olive.

However, if you do decide to buy the tablet, we wholehearted recommend the..

All-new Made for Amazon Bluetooth Keyboard with detachable case | Compatible with Fire HD 10 (11th gen., 2021 release), Black. £49

All-new Made for Amazon Bluetooth Keyboard with detachable case | Compatible with Fire HD 10 (11th gen., 2021 release), Black
All-new Made for Amazon Bluetooth Keyboard with detachable case | Compatible with Fire HD 10 (11th gen., 2021 release), Black

Tablet keyboards can sometimes come up short, but this wasn’t the case with this made-for-amazon keyboard, it is a proper hard case and high-quality keyboard which effortlessly pairs with your Fire HD 10 tablet and can also detach by pulling gently and releasing the magnetic catches. Great for use on the go with super long use rechargeable battery which also charges via USB Type-C

Great quality and really good value for money., which gives you a high-end 1080 netbook for £129 using the black-Friday deal.

 

https://amzn.to/3CViCYm

Echo Dot (3rd Gen) – Smart speaker with Alexa – Charcoal Fabric – £18.99 Black Friday Special.

Echo Dot (3rd Gen) - Smart speaker with Alexa - Charcoal Fabric - £18.99 Black Friday Special.
Echo Dot (3rd Gen) – Smart speaker with Alexa – Charcoal Fabric – £18.99 Black Friday Special.

Who doesn’t love an Echo Dot? We do, they are now all over our home. This Black Friday special gives you the 3rd Generation model with charcoal fabric and superb sound quality for the price of a taxi fare. Really Really good value for money at £18.99!

  • Amazons most popular smart speaker: now with a fabric design and improved speaker for richer and louder sound.
  • Voice control your music: stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, TuneIn and others. You can also listen to audiobooks from Audible.
  • Bigger, better sound: pair with a second Echo Dot for rich, stereo sound. Fill your home with music with compatible Echo devices in different rooms.
  • Ready to help: ask Alexa to play music, answer questions, read the news, check the weather, set alarms, control compatible smart home devices and more.
  • Connect with others: call almost anyone hands free including UK mobile and residential numbers (from UK only), other Echo devices, Alexa app and Skype. Link your Vodafone account to make and receive mobile calls. Instantly drop in on other rooms in your home or make an announcement to every room with a compatible Echo device.
  • Alexa has skills: with tens of thousands of skills, Alexa is always getting smarter and adding new skills like tracking fitness, playing games and more.
  • Voice control your smart home: turn on lights, adjust thermostats, lock doors and more, with compatible connected devices.
  • Designed to protect your privacy: built with multiple layers of privacy protection and control, including a Microphone Off button that electronically disconnects the microphones.

Super deals on Smartphones, Wearables from, Samsung, Nokia and more

 Samsung Galaxy M12 Smartphone Dual SIM Android Mobile Phone Green [Amazon Exclusive] (UK Version)

Samsung Galaxy M12 Smartphone Dual SIM Android Mobile Phone Green [Amazon Exclusive] (UK Version)
Amazon is offering a wealth of special offers an a massive range of mobile devices.

One notable offer is the 38% discount on the Samsung Galaxy M12 Smartphone Dual SIM Android Mobile Phone Green [Amazon Exclusive] (UK Version).

Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote (includes TV controls) £24.99 (50% off) Black Friday.

Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote (includes TV controls)
Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote (includes TV controls)

The Amazon firetv stick  4k is amazing value, simple to set up and really snappy to use. Currently available at half price of £24.99, it’s hard to ignore.

  • Cinematic experience: watch in vibrant 4K Ultra HD with support for Dolby Vision, HDR and HDR10+.
  • Home cinema audio with Dolby Atmos: feel scenes come to life with support for immersive Dolby Atmos audio on selected content with compatible home audio systems.
  • Endless entertainment: stream hundreds of thousands of films and TV episodes from Netflix, Prime Video, Now, Disney+ and more, plus listen to millions of songs. Subscription fees may apply.
  • Live and free TV: watch live TV, news and sport with subscriptions to BT Sport, Eurosport, Sky News and more. Stream for free with ITV Hub, All 4, PlutoTV, YouTube and more.
  • Alexa Voice Remote: search and launch content with your voice. Get to favourite apps quickly with preset buttons. Control power and volume with one remote.
  • Control your compatible smart home: ask Alexa to check the weather, dim the lights, view supported live camera feeds, stream music and more.
  • Simple and intuitive: quickly access your favourite apps, live TV and things you use most, all from the main menu.
  • Easy to set up, compact enough to stay hidden: plug in behind your TV, turn on the TV and connect to the internet.

Kindle books with HUGE DISCOUNTS of up to 95%, starting at 99p

Kindle books with HUGE DISCOUNTS of up to 95%, starting at 99p
Kindle books with HUGE DISCOUNTS of up to 95%, starting at 99p

If you are a fan of reading books, you can’t go wrong with a Kindle, the lightweight device which revolutionised the ready book market.

Start off your collection with some amazing Kindle deals starting at 99p

Looking for something to read them on?

Kindle | Now with built-in front light—with Ads—Black £49.99

Kindle | Now with a built-in front light—with Ads—Black
Kindle | Now with built-in front light—with Ads—Black
The With Ads option (also known as Special Offers) displays sponsored screensavers on your device’s lock screen and in sleep mode.
  • Adjustable front light lets you read comfortably for hours, indoors and outdoors, day and night.
  • Purpose-built for reading, with a 167 PPI glare-free display that reads like printed paper, even in direct sunlight.
  • Distraction-free reading. Highlight passages, look up definitions, translate words and adjust text size, without ever leaving the page.
  • Select from millions of books, newspapers and audiobooks. Holds thousands of titles so you can take your library with you.
  • Prime members read for free with unlimited access to over a thousand titles.
  • A single battery charge lasts weeks, not hours. Learn more in Technical Details below.
  • Enjoy more books with Audible. Pair with Bluetooth headphones, or speakers, to switch seamlessly between reading and listening.

As an Amazon Influencer, we may earn a small commission, should you decide to buy their products through these links!

UK Company PULSAR Demonstrates Green, High Power Rocket Engine and Big Ambitions

Pulsar Fusion Ltd, a UK nuclear fusion company based in Bletchley, has just developed and tested its first launch capable, high-power chemical rocket engine in the UK.

These rocket engines could be used for a variety of applications, including launching people and satellites into space.

The company’s ultimate ambition in the future is to produce a hyper-speed propulsion engine using nuclear fusion technologies for interplanetary travel – which scientists think could cut the journey time to Mars in half.

This successful set of test firings showcases the rapid design development and test process of high-performance engineering components to support Pulsar Fusion’s energy and propulsion hardware portfolio roadmap. The rocket engine proudly displayed the Union Jack flag during testing.

UK Company PULSAR Demonstrates Green, High Power Rocket Engine and Big Ambitions
UK Company PULSAR Demonstrates Green, High Power Rocket Engine – Photo Credit Pulsar Fusion Ltd

Pulsar’s UK acceptance tests at COTEC – Ministry of Defence military base in Salisbury, took place on November 17 and 18, 2021 (As pictured) which were static tests. These will be followed by an international demonstration for space clients in Switzerland on November 25.

This hybrid rocket engine has demonstrated impressive visual plume effects such as supersonic shock diamonds typical of a high temperature, high mass flow rate rocket exhaust.

UK Company PULSAR Demonstrates Green, High Power Rocket Engine and Big Ambitions

CEO – Richard Dinan, commented: “We are delighted with the UK test firings at COTEC. It is a hugely significant moment and we are proud this rocket is built in the UK. To have a British rocket test on UK soil is novel.

“Pulsar is among a very few companies around the world to have built and tested these technologies. We have a team of fantastic scientists with a wealth of experience to thank for these milestones. We have also drawn talent from some of the UK’s top universities who have begun working with and testing our plasma thrusters at campus facilities. We are extremely proud of these achievements and look forward to expanding our network with the British and European space community with our hardware demonstration later this month in Switzerland.”

Pulsar’s ‘green’ (non-toxic) hybrid rocket engine combusts nitrous oxide (N2O) oxidiser and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) fuel and oxygen.  It is a new model that enables Pulsar to manufacture these compact rocket engines at record lead times, with an enhanced safety factor as due to the design, these engines have relatively benign failure modes in comparison with conventional liquid propulsion engines.

A hybrid rocket engine has the following main components and requires control of only one fluid – a liquid oxidiser during testing. Liquid oxidiser is fed under a regulated pressure through a control valve into a combustion chamber containing a technology as proprietary.

Pulsar Hybrid Rocket Engine
Pulsar Hybrid Rocket Engine – Credit Pulsar Fusion Ltd

Pulsar Fusion received UK government funding in September 2021 to further develop its HET (Hall Effect Thruster) plasma satellite engines, capable of 20 km / second particle exhaust speeds. These Pulsar thrusters have recently been tested at Harwell’s facilities where they withstood 20g’s of vibration, simulating a rocket launch. Pulsar now seeks to IOD test these engines. (In Orbit Demonstration).

Pulsar Hybrid Rocket Engine
Pulsar Hybrid Rocket Engine

The vision:

The company’s ultimate milestone is to produce a hyper-speed propulsion engine using nuclear fusion technologies of which it has been researching for nine years which could eventually be used for interplanetary travel – and which scientists say could halve the journey time from Earth to Mars. A first prototype is expected in 2025.

Pulsar Hybrid Rocket Engine
Pulsar Hybrid Rocket Engine Test Firing.

About the company:

Pulsar Fusion is an advanced propulsion technologies company. It manufactures compact and efficient satellite engines for use in orbit, and liquid rocket engines for launch and atmospheric propulsion.

By 2025 – the company wants to develop nuclear fusion propulsion engines for static demonstration.

By 2027 – the company wants to manufacture a nuclear fusion rocket engine to be launched and tested in orbit.

Pulsar’s fusion propulsion systems are enabled by the technology generated in the rocket engine programme.

 

Gadget Man – Episode 173 – Repair your own Apple devices?

I’m back again for a new episode of the podcast which features me chatting to Lesley Dolphin at BBC Radio Suffolk about Apples plans to allow their devices to be repaired.

Pretty much everyone is in shock at this decision, which isn’t quite as welcome as it could be.

Listen in to the stream to find out more!

 

HTC Vive Flow – Virtual Reality that put Wellbeing at the Forefront

As a person with an avid interest in technology, getting the chance to review a new piece of Virtual Reality kit was very exciting, so when I was invited to review the new HTC Vive Flow a week before their official launch on October 14th, I jumped at the chance!

So on the morning of October 8th, I set off to Dingley Place in London to find out more.

Dingley Place near Old Street
Dingley Place near Old Street

The preview event was hosted at a modern shoot location near Old Street, and it presented as a modern apartment and outside space, which turned out to be an ideal place to experience this new tech.

The location in Dingley Place
The location in Dingley Place

HTC now have been producing cutting edge ‘room scale’ virtual reality headsets since 2015 and have both consumer and professional solutions available in the marketplace.

Vive Flow uses an Android smartphone as the pointer
Vive Flow uses an Android smartphone as the pointer

Typically, VR headsets are quite large and cumbersome and work in conjunction with hand controllers and connect to a reasonably powerful  PC or dedicated console which does most of the legwork, with mainly immersive virtual reality action games. Not something you can readily carry around with you.

Vive Flow - Image Credit: HTC Vive
Vive Flow – Image Credit: HTC Vive

With the launch of the Vive Flow, HTC has turned this whole idea on its head. Rather than focus on 3D action games, instead, HTC has positioned the device primarily in the mindfulness and wellbeing space, with lightweight ‘glasses’ that connect to your Android smartphone (which doubles up as the hand controller).

Vive Flow
Vive Flow

The glasses themselves are very light, coming in at 180g which I was told was the weight of a bar of chocolate. The front of Vive Flow’s lenses has a  mirror finish with a camera hidden behind each lens for motion tracking and a ‘pass-through’ view.

VIVE Flow - image credit HTC Vive
VIVE Flow – image credit HTC Vive

Rather than using a full wraparound design, the Flow fit like standard glasses with speakers built into each arm. The goggles fit very comfortably over the eyes using a soft material, there is also an active cooling system that blows cool air onto your skin when it detects heat increasing.

The Vive Flow uses a very advanced lens system which is one of the reasons why the device is so like, this also allows for diopter adjustment which means many glasses users will be able to use the device without wearing them.

Each lens has a high-resolution display at 3.2k combined (2x 2.1” LCD 1600 x1600 per eye). The displays refresh at 75mhz and have a field of view of 100 degrees. Onboard storage is 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM.

The glasses are designed to be powered via an adapter, they do contain a battery for management purposes rather than completely wire-free use.

I tried 5 different modes of use.

  1. Mindfulness and Chillout Area – I experience the mindfulness side of this technology where I was transported to a beach someone exotic and watch the sunrise, whilst I was gently coached on my breathing and reached a really nice calm place!
  2. Disney+ – Here I was able to experience the full cinematic version of the Disney+ streaming platform and had a chance to watch a segment of Free Guy starring Ryan Reynolds. The video quality was exceptional as was the surround sound. It was very impressive!
  3. Pirates – This was a VR pirate game where I had to shoot cannonballs at pirate ships – Lots of fun!
  4. V&A Curious Alice – This was an interactive experience in conjunction with the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was really good fun again, you can find out more here.
  5. Lo-Fi Cafe – I really liked this experience, it was an incredibly immersive and calming experience. I was sitting in a Cafe with a steaming coffee in front of me, music playing on a record player, an open book on the table and a laptop. There were empty tables which I was able to transport over to. I could also surf the internet in a VR browser. I could also draw and write in thin air. Most importantly, I found it really relaxing. Living in a house that can be very very noisy, I really felt I could actually take myself away from the hustle and bustle of life into that virtual cafe and watch the rain running down the window and just relax.

I realised more than anything was that VR has indeed reached a point when the brain can be fooled enough to be calmed into a sense of relaxation wherever you might be. In a workplace, busy home or even on a transatlantic flight. I was very, very impressed.

HTC Vive Flow Working in LoFi
HTC Vive Flow Working in LoFi – Image Credit HTC Vive

The Vive Flow is priced at £499, which is no small amount of money, but comparable with other headsets on the market.

I have a set arriving soon, so expect an in-depth look very shortly!

More information can be found  HERE

 

ZipCharge: Revolutionary Portable EV Charger, Allowing You to Charge Your Electric Car Anywhere, Revealed at COP26

ZipCharge, today at COP26, revealed its first game-changing portable Electric Vehicle (EV) charger, the Go. By bringing the possibility of home charging to all, the Go removes a common barrier to EV ownership that exists across the world. In the UK alone, 8.5 million or 40% of car-owning households don’t have designated off-street parking.

ZipCharge: Revolutionary Portable EV Charger, Allowing You to Charge Your Electric Car Anywhere, Revealed at COP26
ZipCharge: Revolutionary Portable EV Charger, Allowing You to Charge Your Electric Car Anywhere, Revealed at COP26

The Go is the first element of a global portable EV charging platform that combines hardware, software, machine learning and innovative ownership models to bring affordable, practical EV charging to more people than ever. ZipCharge Go also creates an intelligent energy management platform that provides flexibility and resilience for the national power grid.

Realising that widespread EV adoption would be hampered by the inability to charge near or at home, ZipCharge co-founders Richie Sibal and Jonathan Carrier identified and developed a solution. Using their decades of experience in automotive electronics systems engineering and product development gained at cutting-edge businesses like McLaren Automotive, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, Gordon Murray Group and LEVC – their answer is the Go. Now well into the development phase ZipCharge is on track to deliver the first models to customers in Q4 2022.

ZipCharge: Revolutionary Portable EV Charger, Allowing You to Charge Your Electric Car Anywhere, Revealed at COP26

ZipCharge Co-founder Jonathan Carrier “We’re delighted to be launching the Go at COP26, it’s the perfect place to introduce ZipCharge to the world. In light of the Government’s recent Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener manifesto announcement, never before has the automotive industry had cause to innovate so rapidly to help us reach a low carbon future. One of the key barriers to wider uptake of EVs is charging anxiety; the inability to charge near or at home. ZipCharge removes that hurdle and in doing so, will democratise EV ownership.”

ZipCharge: Revolutionary Portable EV Charger, Allowing You to Charge Your Electric Car Anywhere, Revealed at COP26

Events such as COP26, the United Nation’s Climate Conference, are crucial to establishing robust plans to achieving the Paris Agreement. The ZipCharge team is cognisant of the fact that transport is a key contributor of greenhouse gases; the rapid adoption of EVs and innovation in automotive are key to ensuring the target of net zero is met.

The SMMT, the UK’s most influential motoring trade body, advises there are currently 600,000 plug-in electric hybrid vehicles (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) on the roads in the UK today – up 66% on 2019 figures – that could make use of the ZipCharge product. Mike Hawes, the Chief Executive of the SMMT, said earlier this year “In the same way people charge a phone overnight, people will want to charge at home when they park overnight.”

ZipCharge: Revolutionary Portable EV Charger, Allowing You to Charge Your Electric Car Anywhere, Revealed at COP26

Distinctive design that combines simplicity and attention to detail

The ZipCharge Go sets a new standard in the visual appeal of EV chargers, with a purity of form and a modern, consumer-focused design concept. Developed by automotive and consumer product designers, the form conveys simplicity, strength and aesthetic integrity. The design balances form and function, respecting the engineering requirements, with a strong symmetry in its detail design. For example, the power panel concentrates charging functions and status LEDs in a single location to simplify access and makes the Go easier to use, which is mirrored by the scallop for the side grab handle. The front cover can also be personalised in a range of different colours and finishes, to match the exterior of your EV.

Compact and Convenient to Use Everyday

Engineered to the same standards as automotive electronics systems, the lightweight ZipCharge Go power bank is the size of a compact wheeled suitcase which can be charged at home or elsewhere using a standard domestic plug at a lower cost per kWh of electricity when compared to public charging. Using the retractable handle, users then wheel it to wherever they’ve parked their EV and plug it into the charging port. The port locks the charging cable in, securing the charger with the vehicle. ZipCharge Go provides up to 20 miles (32km)* of range, providing sufficient range for the average daily commute (in UK/EU), in a little over 30 mins and can then be neatly stored in the trunk / boot, or at home. ZipCharge Go can be used in all normal weather conditions like a normal fixed charge point.

High Performance Battery and Power Electronics

Packaged neatly inside are high energy density NMC lithium-ion battery cells and associated power electronics. A bi-directional AC-DC inverter enables two-way charging from the grid to the unit, and from the unit to the grid, so the power bank can be used to store cheap off-peak energy and feed it back into the grid at peak times. An integrated communications module supports OCPP compliant smart charging, over-the-air updates, remote diagnostics, and together with geo-fencing and tracking technology provides enhanced security and peace-of-mind.

ZipCharge: Revolutionary Portable EV Charger, Allowing You to Charge Your Electric Car Anywhere, Revealed at COP26

ZipCharge Co-founder Richie Sibal “Our technical approach to engineering the Go as a lightweight, compact and safe charging solution, and then evolving that into an EV charging platform reflects our intention to combine the development of battery-based systems with the lowest future environmental impact possible.”

Sustainable Materials and Circular Approach

In engineering the Go, ZipCharge has focused on making the most of our planet’s limited resources, by doing more with less. The Go has been developed to be as energy efficient as possible with minimal losses. With learnings from automotive, the Go is designed for lightweight and performance. Like sports cars, ZipCharge uses an aluminium spaceframe to house major systems thereby improving the integrity and stiffness of the unit. This intelligent engineering extends to the consideration of the environmental impact of the materials and components. For example, the Go’s outer shell will be made from post-consumer recycled plastic. By the second half of this decade the ambition is for every ZipCharge charger to be manufactured from recycled materials.

Smart Connectivity to Lower the Cost of Charging and Save Money

Integrated 2G/4G connectivity enables users to remotely manage their Go charger via the ZipCharge mobile app to monitor the device and schedule charging events so the power pack is always ready for when they need it. Inbuilt Artificial Intelligence (AI) will enable ZipCharge to learn the users’ charging patterns and make schedule recommendations to optimise charging at off peak times, saving money and reducing the load on the grid.

Intelligent Energy Management to Support the Energy Network

Thanks to the bi-directional AC-DC inverter, the Go power bank becomes a local energy storage device that can arbitrage energy pricing through time of use rates and, when not in use, sell energy back to the grid at peak times. When hundreds of decentralised Go chargers are pooled together they form a virtual power plant that can supply demand side response services to help balance the grid, providing flexibility and resilience.

Affordability and Flexible Ownership to Democratise Charging for All

Like Peloton and other hardware pioneers, ZipCharge will offer its hardware-as-a-service. Chargers will be available to purchase outright or on subscription for as little as £49 (€57) a month. This is possible because ZipCharge has set the ambitious target to offer the Go at a price comparable to the fully installed cost of a level 2 home charge point, and significantly less than bi-directional home charge points currently on the market.

Basic software functionality will be available to everyone so they can plan and schedule charging, with the enhanced AI software functionality and insurance on subscription for a small monthly fee which, on average, will save the user £15-20 per month. Charging an EV at home has never been so convenient and affordable.

What Not To Do When You’re Flying Your Drone

Drones have been around for some time now so chances are you may have one already. But if not and you’re considering buying a drone for yourself in the near future, it is worth knowing what you shouldn’t do when taking your drone out for a spin. We will list some of these ‘don’ts’ here, although it’s worth noting that they still apply to you if you already have a drone in your possession.

Here’s what not to do when flying your drone!

#1: Don’t spy on your neighbours

Drones have many practical applications, especially when they have a camera affixed to them. However, this doesn’t give you a license to spy on your neighbours. Whether you have reason to or not, you will be impinging on their privacy and if spotted, you could face legal ramifications if the police get involved. There are also safety risks to consider, as you may inadvertently hit your neighbour with your drone if you pilot it incorrectly. Again, there may be legal consequences, so it’s better to fly your drone in private areas. 

#2: Don’t fly your drone near airspace

Your drone is unlikely to bring down an aircraft but it’s still illegal to fly it near airspace. As you have probably seen on the news, it can also be an inconvenience, as some flights have been grounded while drone sightings have been investigated. Would you want to be the next news item to be discussed on television? We are guessing not as you would have a lot of people to answer to! As with the previous point, it is important to be responsible. Take note of the legal advice here and stay out of any potential trouble. 

#3: Don’t lose sight of your drone

It’s important to keep a close eye on your drone, even if it does have a camera attached, as you need to keep both the drone and nearby people and buildings safe from harm. While it’s possible to get your drone repaired if an accident occurs, perhaps via these DJI drone repair services, life becomes more complicated if you cause damage to property or another person.

#4: Don’t fly your drone in crowded areas

The primary reason for this is as we have discussed already. You could cause injury to another, especially if there is a sudden gust of wind that sends your drone off course. It might also plummet to the ground if the batteries fail. In both circumstances, you could hurt a member of the public. However, there is another reason not to fly your drone in crowded areas, and that is theft. This is is less of an issue if your drone is well above head height but if it does fly down at a lower level, for whatever reason, somebody could get their hands on the drone and take it. 

Drones are a lot of fun and there are practical advantages too. However, as we have discussed here, care does need to be taken. So, take heed of our advice and protect your drone, yourself, and the well-being of others.

Are House Prices Headed for a Fall?

After reports that house prices had fallen for the first time in years on July 2021, there was much speculation about the future of the housing market. Was this a precursor for a larger slump, and were we headed for a fall in house prices sooner rather than later? Were steadily rising house prices before the drop evidence of an unsustainable market trend? And what does this mean for the market? We will discuss the future of house prices in the UK, by examining past trends and recent data to find out if the market is destined for a bust.

Trends Before the Pandemic

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a series of effects on the housing market (and which we will address shortly) house prices had been growing mercurially. After the 117% increase in average house price in the 2000s, the 2010s saw a comparatively meagre 33% growth – a rate seconded only by the 21% growth of the 1990s in recent history. Recession was the primary cause for both of these slumps, with the 2000s showing a significant bounce-back under New Labour. The 2009 banking crisis and subsequent recession, which coincidentally started as a result of sub-prime mortgages, saw a much slow return in the rate of house price increase – as the effects of quantitative easing rejuvenating the rate of house price growth over time.

The Effect of Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic severely affected the number of house sales taking place in 2020; despite laws allowing ongoing house moves to continue, successive lockdowns resulted in a downturn in sales, which in turn had an effect on the housing market. To stimulate growth again, the government announced a 12-month freeze on stamp duty in June 2020. This made selling more expensive properties a far cheaper process, and with the advent of online property conveyance solicitors, transactions could take place again.

What’s Next?

The house price drop mentioned at the start of this piece was the direct result of stamp duty being reinstated in full, with a majority of sellers aiming to complete their sale ahead of the 30th June deadline. The drop in house price was a function of the market adjusting for stamp duty, and does not appear to be the harbinger of future slumps. Instead, house price growth is projected to be robust, with August 2021’s growth already back at 10.6%. There is no indication that house prices will suffer in 2022, and in fact it seems more likely that the rate of growth will continue to increase with demand.

Why a Young Family Needs a Financial Plan

Starting a family is an incredible feeling quite unlike any other in the world. While this is an incredibly exciting time, it can also be daunting and this is for a few reasons. One of the biggest concerns that young families have is money and this is why it is so important to have a financial plan in place.

How Life Changes Immediately

Life changes when you start a family and in more ways than one. You will notice that your financial situation changes and this can be quite a shock to the system, especially those that have enjoyed the double income no kids lifestyle. When you have a baby, obviously you will have many new costs that need to be covered and these can quickly add up. On top of this, you are likely to have a dip in household income as a result of maternity/paternity leave or permanently quitting a job.

The Future

In addition to the above immediate changes to your financial situation, you must also think about the short and long-term future. The cost of childcare is an enormous cost to cover for parents that want to go back to work and you will then have to consider the increased costs as the child gets older and saving for their education. As if this was not enough, you then have your own financial situation to think about including mortgage/rent payments, the increased cost of living and your retirement.

The Importance of a Financial Plan

It is easy to panic when you factor in all of the above, but a strong financial plan can put you in control and help you to make the most of now while also building for the future. It is a smart idea for new parents/those starting a family to speak to a financial planning specialist that will be able to create a financial plan for your family based on your situation, needs and goals.

What a Financial Plan Consists of

This financial plan can cover all important aspects, including reducing spending, increasing income, saving for education, growing the family, helping your child to get onto the property ladder, retirement and even inheritance. Having a long term financial plan like this is important for helping to keep you on track while also greatly reducing the stress that can be involved with money when starting a family.

Life can feel very chaotic and expensive when you start a family. There is a lot to think about in the short and long term, but smart financial planning will help you to manage and build a comfortable lifestyle for your family.

The benefits of using HR software

A human resources (HR) software system is a computer-based program that can make it easier to manage staff. From tracking performance and work schedules to monitoring payroll and benefits, HR software can help your HR team manage your staff more efficiently and effectively. This can be particularly useful as your company grows. Below, we explore the benefits of using HR software.

Saves time

HR software can take over routine departmental tasks, saving your team time and allowing them to dedicate themselves to creating a better workplace for your staff. For a start, the software reduces paperwork by ensuring there’s a uniform response to dealing with employee information processes. Plus, by keeping employee information all within the system, you won’t need to sift through physical documents searching for information.

Have important information in one place

HR software keeps important information all within one place. With most companies carrying enormous amounts of data on every employee – much of it confidential – it can take a long time for the HR team to update this manually. With the help of software though, this data is updated quickly allowing your team to focus on more impactful work.

Security

Protecting employee data is crucial. You have a moral duty to protect your staff, and if you fail to then you could end up paying GDPR compensation and a fine should there be a leak. Fortunately, a solid HR software system can bolster your security. Personal information is encrypted to ensure that hackers and unauthorised personell can’t access data even if they manage to get onto the platform.

Track/monitor employees and help them to progress

HR software can also produce sophisticated employee performance data. By tracking this data you and your employees will get instant feedback on performance. This can allow staff to pinpoint precise areas for improvement and also plan ahead with goals to improve towards. With the help of performance data it should help your team consistently become more productive.

Monitor annual leave/sickness

The system can track the number of days an employee is absent without making mistakes – the worry of human error fades away with HR software. Clear management of sick days and leave can avoid time-consuming email trails and ensure that everyone understands the days off they have remaining each year. Again, this can help ease the workload on your HR team so that they can focus on improving the working environment.

The larger your company grows, the more important it is to invest in HR software. As you employ more staff, keeping track of their data becomes less manageable. By using HR software, though, you’ll be well equipped to run an efficient and effective HR team.

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