BRCK founders embark on epic roadtrip to promote African connectivity



This is pretty cool: the folks behind BRCK — the device that allows you to connect to the internet, no matter where you are and without electricity — are embarking on an epic roadtrip from Nairobi to Johannesburg.

The aim of the trip is both to stress test the tech and to network with various tech communities along the way. Using a Land Rover and three motorcycles, the group hopes to arrive in Johannesburg in time for Maker Faire Africa, taking place from 3 to 6 December. That’s 4 400km in nine days, going rom Kenya through Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana and into South Africa.

As Ushahidi co-founder Erik Hersman writes on his blog, it’s pretty important that the crew actually gets to the maker-fueled gathering:

Since I’m a founding organizer for Maker Faire Africa, I’m excited to go back, and this time have a product of our own to show for it. Besides demoing the BRCK and sharing how to build a hardware business in Africa, we’re also going to have some fun hacking on the devices with whoever is around and wants to play with them. We’ll have a couple of our engineers on hand as well.

Read more: BRCK: Ushahidi’s Kickstarter project designed to fix Africa’s internet issues

Interestingly, it looks like the team will also be testing a few new technologies concerning the BRCK.

These include BRCKPi, which is what happens when you combine a BRCK with a Raspberry Pi; integration with satellite communication services (including Immarsat’s iSavi); and Poytning antennas in a bid to create “quick, deployable units at the edge of the grid”.

Included in the places it’ll stop at on the way down is Zambia’s Bongohive, with Hersman set to give the keynote speech at Lusaka’s Startup Weekend.

Read more: Building BRCK: the story behind Ushahidi’s mobile internet router

On the way back up meanwhile, it’ll stop in Harare, Zimbabwe to meet up with the tech community there.

According to Hersman, there will also be a couple of guests on the way there and back:

On the way south: Juliana Rotich (Ushahidi, iHub, BRCK), and Mark Kamau (UX Lab lead at iHub).

On the way north: Aaron Marshall (CEO, founder of Over, Africa’s biggest selling IOS app), as well as Matt Schoenholz (head of the Kitchen Studio at Teague which focuses on prototyping and making).

This is not the first time the BRCK team have taken its technology on the road. Previously expeditions have seen BRCK travel to Turkana and to the Nile.



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