No network signal, no power. There’s power, but there’s no network signal. The network signal is strong, but your battery is “too low for radio use.” That’s the nature of getting online in Africa.
Engineered by Kenya-based non-profit tech startup Ushahidi, developers of the eponymous data crowdsourcing platform that wowed Africa a few years ago, BRCK — a solidly-built cloud-managed modem/router — may well be the solution to widespread Internet connectivity problems on the continent.
The rugged (oil/dirt/splash resistant) 510-gram box touted as a “backup generator for the Internet,” will suck juice from Ethernet, Wi-Fi or 3G/4G mobile networks for a blissful eight hours (without a mad dash for a nearby power source), piping the good stuff to up to twenty connected devices (top that, Huawei). It also comes with USB ports so you can charge stuff off its huge 8,000 mAH battery, as well as an Arduino-compatible expansion controller that should interest would-be hack.., er, hobbyists.
No word yet on when the approximately ₦32,000 device will land on store shelves in Nigeria, but you can learn more about BRCK here and from Ushahidi co-founder Juliana Rotich’s TED Talk below.
Image via Wired