07 May 2013

Grassroots Infra ~ Zuckerman Kick's BRCKs!

Nice WIRED UK piece by MIT Media Lab's Ethan Zuckerman noting how Africa's hackers are today's world-class tech innovators...
"On much of the African content, telecoms infrastructure is world class, whereas transport, power and other infrastructures lag far behind. For creative techies across the continent, this infrastructure disparity is an opportunity for innovation. [There's a] ...lively community of techies harnessing Kenyan telecoms to plug holes in the country's less developed infrastructure. Say you're the sort of Kenyan programmer who spends hours working on your laptop at home. Your arch-nemesis is the frequent power cuts that knock your internet router and wireless hub offline. You're the target market for the BRCK, a device being prototyped at the iHub that features a battery backup for a wireless router that talks to the GSM data network to provide net access. When the power goes off, BRCK turns on. [...] For countries such as Kenya to emerge as economic powerhouses, they need better infrastructure: roads, ports, smart grids and power plants. Infrastructure is expensive, and takes a long time to build. In the meantime, hackers are building "grassroots infrastructure", using the mobile-phone system to build solutions that are ready for market. [...] There's a vast, powerful infrastructure that can be repurposed and hacked. Some of the most creative people on the continent are solving problems by using technologies in ways their creators had never expected."
Read Ethan's whole piece and Kickstart the BRCK!

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