From the Series
BRCK's self-titled router put the Nairobi-based technology company on the map, and now they’re back with rugged tech solutions for Kenyan schools.
The BRCK router was designed to provide good, solid connectivity in Africa. The device is a rugged Wi-Fi router equipped with a back-up generator. When the electricity goes out, it still provides access to 3G networks and it has 8 to 12 hours of battery life.
The start-up took the expertise they acquired while designing and building BRCK and applied it to education in Africa. Their efforts yielded BRCK education and their rugged tech solutions for African education: the Kio Kit – a digital classroom in a box.
The Kio Kit consists of a BRCK connectivity device, 40 toughened Kio tablets and headphones, and a secure, weather resistant suitcase. The innovators at BRCK spent time testing the Kio tablets in Kenyan classrooms and this contributed to a characteristic design element of the tablet – wireless charging.
"One lesson that we learned from our earlier design iterations is that the tablet charging connection is the greatest single point of failure for devices used by children. So, we engineered the Kio not to require a cable for charging," says an innovator at BRCK in the Kio Kit launch video.
When the Kio tablets are in storage, the suitcase also acts as a wireless charging station. The tablets are water resistant and hardy enough to withstand a 70-centimetre drop. They also have the ability to store up to two terabytes of educational content.
The Kio Kit aims to address the limited access to technology, and high mobile data costs while remaining sensitive to the unreliable electricity supply. The kit is also adaptable to run on solar power making it suitable for off-grid locations.
To ensure the Kio tablets could adequately cater to schools' educational needs, the innovators at BRCK collaborated with digital content provider, eLimu. Founded by Nivi Mukherjee, eLimu developed resources such as videos and educational games to put on tablets.
The Kio Kit is the first fully integrated education kit designed by African innovators with Africa-oriented solutions in mind. The kit equalises the playing field by making the same tools available to all children despite their location.
The images in this article are courtesy of BRCK.