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Ex-Rolls-Royce engineer looks to conquer the tiny home market with the Conker

How will we all live in the future? If some science fiction stories are to believed, it could be in shiny and spherical pod-style homes that resemble giant soccer balls on stilts. If the year 3000 can’t come around quick enough for you, former Rolls-Royce and Bentley engineer Jag Virdie has your back.

Virdie recently launched “The Conker,” a new type of spherical dwelling that can be installed in a single day, and brings with it the possibility of stylish off-the-grid living. It also has the added benefit of making your friends think some kind of luxury alien spacecraft has landed in your backyard.

“The aerodynamic shape of the Conker negates the need for guttering, and allows it to harvest water and be easily fitted with solar panels on the exterior,” Virdie told Digital Trends. “What we have created is [something] that allows people to create whatever environment they want — both inside and out. You can really make it bespoke, using whatever patterns or colors you want on the outside, and whatever furniture or colors you want on the inside.”

The full-size Conker is around 13-feet tall and 12.6-feet in diameter. Its shell is made from aluminum and recycled plastic, while the walls contain more than 200mm of insulation, which promises to make it heat efficient in both summer and winter. To gain access to the pod, you’ll use a hatch-like door and steps, similar to the kind of entrance you would find on an airplane. Inside, the surprisingly spacious Conker boasts wood floors and, on request, a wet room, toilet, kitchenette, and other essentials that truly turn a pod into a home.

It costs a shade over $45,000 “with all the bells and whistles,” although cheaper options are available if you don’t want all the extras. That relatively high price point puts it above some other micro homes, but there are no extra costs tacked on on top. For instance, it doesn’t need to be installed on a concrete base or any kind of foundation. And, heck, with the possibility of solar-powered off-the-grid living, you won’t even necessarily have energy costs to pay!

“There are several markets that we’re looking at,” Virdie said. “One is the ‘glamping’ market because they’ve really been the first to express their excitement. There has also been interest in having them as a garden room or office — which is how I use mine. There’s also potential for it as a building which can easily be assembled or dismantled to function as, for instance, a temporary bar for shows, music festivals, and other events. There’s a lot that the Conker can do.”

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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