Turning Trash Into High-Speed WiFi Connections in Afghanistan
It took a World Bank-funded infrastructre project seven years and hundreds of millions of dollars to create just one international link for high speed wifi in Afghanistan. It took a few smart, handy people just a few brainstorm sessions, a day of work, and a pile of trash to create their own wifi. It underscores the point that "trash" is just raw materials in the wrong place.
Shown here is one part of a wireless network made primarily out of garbage. It was created by volunteers in Afghanistan, including locals and members of the MIT Bits and Atoms lab. It's called "FabFi" and it functions perfectly well. The project is shown off at
Free Range International. And, did I mention it's made from trash?!
Indeed, pieces of board, wire, a plastic tub and a couple of USAID vegetable oil cans scrounged from local trash piles are the primary components of this device that is helping to bring internet connection to Afghanistan, enabling Skype connections and heightened communication.
FabLab is a really cool part of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA). Its purpose is to explore how the content of information relates to its physical representation, focusing specifically on technical outreach activities of partner organizations that will help "ordinary" people learn about science and engineering, as well as design machines and devices that improve their quality of life. It looks like the FabFi certainly fits that bill. The resourceful system highlighted here is the design of the Jalalabad Fab Lab team.
Thanks goes to Boing Boing for bringing our attention to the cool project.