Rockall Island is little more than a desolate outcropping of rock in the North Atlantic Ocean, between Scotland and Iceland. British naturalist James Fisher once called it "the most isolated small rock in the oceans of the world."
Very few people have managed to get on Rockall, much less stay there for any length of time.
British adventurer Nick Hancock thinks it's high time someone did something about that.
In 2012, Hancock climbed Rockall's steep, craggy sides and sent the first Tweet and Facebook update from its top. Now he's set his sights even higher: Starting May 27, Hancock will spend 60 days on Rockall as part of a campaign to raise money for Help for Heroes, a British charity for wounded veterans. If successful, his "Rockall Solo" campaign would smash the previous record of a single night.
Though he's busy preparing for his record-breaking trip, Hancock took some time to chat with TechNewsDaily about the technology he's bringing to Rockall to help him survive the 60-day sojourn.
The RockPod is a water tank that Hancock has modified to be the shelter in which he'll be staying over the course of 60 days.
Hancock cut ventilation shafts into the plastic and attached steel fittings that will help tether it to Rockall's surface and insulated the inside with spray-on foam. [See also: Best Survivalist Hard Drive: ioSafe Rugged Portable ]
This powerful mechanical pulley is how Hancock is going to get his half-ton of gear and supplies up Rockall's face.
The winch itself weighs about 9 kilograms (20 pounds) and its gasoline-powered motor can lift up to 2.5 tons up Rockall's steep cliffs.
BGAN satellite phone
This Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) phone gets its connection from orbiting satellites instead of ground-based cell towers, which makes it far more portable.
Hancock will use this phone to text a friend who will be monitoring him from shore, as well as to tweet and update his blog.
The phone is so important that Hancock will bring a spare as well, in case the first is damaged.
Portable Wind Turbine
The winch runs on gasoline and the camping stove runs on liquid petroleum gas (a type of propane), but a portable wind turbine will generate the electricity to power Hancock's other gadgets.
On the top of this exposed, rocky island, wind power is one of the few things that will be in plentiful supply — that and seagull droppings.
The laptop Hancock's bringing to Rockall is one of the most durable on the market, able to withstand falls of up to six feet on hard rock.
It'll connect to the internet via an Immarsat Explorer 700 BGAN, and Hancock will use it to tweet and blog, as well as read ebooks and listen to music. [See also: Stolen NASA Laptop Had Space Station Control Codes ]
Hancock plans to eat mostly cold food such as army rations while on Rockall, but he is bringing a camping stove and five liters of liquid petroleum gas to power it.
"I'll probably have enough gas to pour a couple of warm drinks a day," Hancock said.
Hancock is bringing approximately 150 liters (about 40 gallons) of clean drinking water with him to Rockall, which should be enough to get him through the 60 days. But just in case he needs more he'll have a water purification device powered by a hand pump that can make seawater drinkable.
Actually reaching the water from the top of Rockall is another challenge, but Hancock has a low-tech solution: a bucket and rope.
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