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BRCK, emergency internet access that works without electricity


Some people would consider having internet access a civil right. Others would consider it a monumental benefit and an enormous convenience. However you view it, the internet significantly changes the way we live our lives. Unfortunately, the internet doesn’t just exist; things have to make it exist, and those things aren’t always reliable. A power outage, a strong rainstorm, your cat chewing on some wires, — a veritable sea of outside forces could knock out your internet access. What if a device could provide reliable backup internet access, though, that worked everywhere — even without a source of electricity? Non-profit tech company Ushahidi is aiming to bring you such a device.
If you think having to take a train through a dead zone every morning makes connecting to the internet obnoxious, imagine what it must be like for people that work in remote areas. BRCK is aiming to be an affordable, reliable solution for people without consistent internet access. It’s one device that provides the internet any way it possibly can. BRCK can run while plugged in or on battery power, jump between networks at will, and become a mobile hotspot for multiple devices.
BRCK can support up to 20 different connected devices, has an 8-hour battery life when not plugged in, and can jump from Ethernet, to WiFi, to 3G, to 4G seamlessly, as whatever network becomes available. You can plug BRCK into Ethernet access, or slot in a SIM card for it to jump on a mobile network. The beauty of BRCK is that it automatically knows what to do. If the power goes out, it’ll switch to battery reserves. If Ethernet drops, it’ll automatically switch to a mobile network, and so on.

Essentially, BRCK doesn’t create some new kind of internet, but is basically a system of automatic backups, jumping from one power source or internet network to another. If you are, for example, riding through a subway tunnel that doesn’t have mobile or WiFi access, BRCK won’t suddenly create some for you. However, if you want uninterrupted internet access in case of emergency or spotty connections, it’s BRCK’s job to make it seem like you’ve had a steady stream of internet access the whole time with no outages.
As part of the BRCK’s magic, Ushahidi has it hooked up to a global database of cellular data providers, to which the device automatically syncs. The only thing you’d need is a SIM card that is accepted in the area in which you happen to be.
For a minimum pledge of $200 ($150 early-bird access has already dried up), you’ll receive a BRCK out of the first batch, set to ship in November of this year. A second batch of BRCK units will require the same $200 pledge, but will be shipping in March of next year.
If you’re interested in an uninterrupted backup internet source, head on over the Kickstarter page for more information.
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