With a double whammy of unreliable Internet and power outages, getting online in parts of rural Africa is not easy. Now a Kickstarter-funded project might have found the solution.
BRCK is a wireless, battery-powered mobile router that aims to reliably connect users to the Internet wherever you are (and without electricity). It’s a backup generator for the Internet, with an eight-hour battery life. The device works similarly to a cell phone connecting to the Internet by hopping between Ethernet, Wifi, and any available 3G or 4G mobile phone network. BRCK can support 20 devices connected at the same time, and has a rugged exterior so you can take it bundu-bashing across Africa in your Landy.
The team behind BRCK is Ushahidi, a non-profit tech company based in Kenya specialising in free and open-source software. They are best known for an open-source platform which allows users to crowdsource crisis information to be sent by mobile, which is used around the world, including during the 2007 political upheaval in Kenya and earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, Japan and New Zealand. Ushahidi raised the funds to launch BRCK through Kickstarter, where they raised $172 000 – more than was needed.
BRCK is available for pre-order and costs $195. For more on BRCK and to order one go to brck.com.