Device Works On Any Available Internet or Power Sources

    19 May, 2013


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.

    A team of Americans and Kenyans has developed an Internet router made specially for Africa. They say it keeps the Internet available even in areas with undependable Internet service. The device is called Brck [pronounced Brick], it can plug into an electric source, but it is also battery powered.

    Al Banda is an Internet blogger in Cameroon. He saw the device for the first time  last week at an Information Technology Conference in Berlin, Germany. Mr. Banda says Brck could solve a problem he has experienced.

    "In Cameroon, in my community, we constantly have power outages, and you won't get access to the Internet. We constantly have the ISPs for any random reason just not providing the service they claim they're providing us, so a solution like that is an African answer to an African problem."

    The Kenya-based nonprofit technology company Ushahidi developed Brck after raising money through the crouse sourcing website Kickstarter. Ushahidi official Erik Hersman says the router is able to move among Internet networks.

    "If you have an Internet connection problem, it will "fail over" to the sim card, so you'll have 3G connectivity, which means that you can completely unplug it and take it with you wherever you want to go, and have connectivity along the way."

    Mr. Hersman says Brck will go into production as soon as the company raises $125,000. Ushahidi has collected about half that so far. The company plans to make up to 1,500 devices at first, mainly for Africa and India. Mr. Hersman expects each device to sell for about $100.

    James Clardy is a technology developer from Texas. He has already bought a Brck and says he is exploring the use of these technologies for building telehealth and telemedicine.

    In a seperate story, A creative program combining wireless phones, pregnant women and health advice is been launched in South Africa, the program called Mama sends maternal advice to expectant and new mothers through text messages.

    Mama is the  Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action, it is based on the idea that wireless phones are the most dependable way to reach people. Right now, three of every four people in the world use cellphones.

    Mama sends up to three messages a week. For example, one such message is about caring for a new-born baby's umbilical cord. It explains how infection of the cord can make a baby sick, then it tells how to keep the cord clean and infection free.

    About 800 women die everyday from pregnancy related problems, and infant death rates are in the millions. Mama is a partnership between the American government and private companies. The program was first established in Bangladesh and soon to arrive in India.

    And that's the Technology Report. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our reports are at We are also on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at VOA learning English. I'm Milagros Ardin.