At the recent Design Indaba conference in Cape Town, Kenyan technology firm Ushahidi unveiled a lightweight and portable internet router designed to work anywhere in the world – even in places with sporadic connectivity and power outages. The revolutionary device was invented to bring connectivity to remote locations in Sub-Saharan Africa, but can meet the diverse needs of internet users worldwide. According to the team mantra, “if it works in Africa, it’ll work anywhere”.
Juliana Rotich, co-founder of Ushahidi, explained that the initial idea behind the router was to create a fully-functional and location-driven device for African countries, “Why do we use technology designed for London when we are using it in Lagos?” Although it was originally built to address the unreliable internet found throughout the African continent, the device could be a major game changer for internet users all over the world.
Determined to meet the diverse needs of people in the remotest of locations, the Ushadidi team developed a robust product that is lightweight and compact, yet powerful enough for every type of connection device. Although it weighs just 500 grams and measures 132mm by 72mm by 45mm, the BRCK is built to be incredibly durable under extreme conditions.
The BRCK is equipped with an eight-hour battery and a built-in 16 gigabyte hard drive. Up to twenty devices can be connected to its network simultaneously, and the router is equipped to automatically switch between Ethernet, WiFi and mobile broadband. These unique features allow BRCK to provide fast and steady internet for users all over Africa, and it could also become an essential tool for emergency situations anywhere.
Ushahidi ran a successful Kickstarter campaign last year for the project and is currently refining the BRCK’s overall design and features. Eventually, the team hopes to develop a production base in Africa, “Ultimately we would love for the BRCK to be conceived in Africa, designed in Africa, made in Africa, used in Africa – and used around the world,” she added.”