A non-profit tech outfit from Africa has taken to Kickstarter to help fund what they describe as a backup generator for the Internet. Ushahidi claims the versatile BRCK (pronounced 'brick') can provide you with an affordable, reliable connection to the web virtually anywhere – even if you don’t have a source of electricity. Sounds interesting enough, right?
The BRCK is essentially a rugged wireless router capable of connecting to the Internet via direct Ethernet connection, Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G. The GSM-enabled device is able to switch sources on-the-fly should one of your connections go bad. It’s connected to a global database of cellular data providers which makes connecting to a cellular network a breeze. Simply slot in a compatible SIM card for access.
As a Wi-Fi hotspot, the BRCK can play host to up to 20 different devices and in the event of a power outage, the unit will keep kicking for up to eight hours thanks to an internal battery.
Keep in mind of course that this isn’t some mystical, magical Internet box. You still need to be able to feed it an active Internet connection – it’s not just going to pull a connection out of the air if nothing is available.
As of writing, more than 400 backers have pledged over $63,000 towards the project’s goal of $125,000 with 26 days to go. A pledge of $200 is required to reserve version two of the BRCK as all of the first batch (priced at $150) have been spoken for. The first wave of devices is expected to ship by November 2013 with the second batch arriving in May 2014.