BRCK creates a device that can function without traditional infrastructure.
The African population relies on the internet to run their businesses and stay connected just as the rest of the world does. However, the difference is that there is often a distinct lack of infrastructure that can make this day to day functioning relatively impossible. BRCK is a rough-and-ready device with it’s own power source and 16 gigabyte hard drive that can switch between various connections to keep you connected even in the most demanding of environments.
BRCK was presented at this year’s Design Indaba Conference held in Cape Town, and is the brain child of Ushahidi, a Kenyan firm run by programmers, engineers, and technologists who are all from Africa, and currently live there. Their expertise runs from cloud software to fingerprint scanners for mobile devices, all the way through to high-level medical device prototyping and manufacturing.
The device even has its own mantra: “If it works in Africa, it’ll work anywhere.”
Unlike technology designed for other parts of the world, BRCK was conceived with its harsh environment in mind. It’s able to deal with much more physical treatment than a traditional modem, and can also withstand dust and water within reasonable limits.
BRCK is currently being refined by the team, but Africa poses more than just environmental challenges:
“We’ve shown we can prototype and make, but we still have to pay more than 100 percent duty on components – we have to make a tough business choice,” said Juliana Rotich, co-founder of Ushahidi, in an interview with Dezeen.
The hope is that it will make all the way to market within Africa, but despite a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, the political and economic situation could prove too much. If the device can hold up to the challenges ahead, then it really will be the world’s toughest modem out there.