Imagine being asked to design an Internet-connected computer network that can function without telephone lines or electricity.
The equipment will also be subjected to torrential rains every six months, and will have to cope with high temperatures and choking clouds of red dust for the rest of the year.
Sounds like a system administrator’s nightmare, but volunteer tech experts working with the Remote IT Village Project in rural Laos say that all it takes is some pedal-powered generators, a few wireless antennas and some rugged, Linux-powered computers.
The rugged computers, built from components used in automatic teller machines and powered by pedal-pushing people, will be connected to wireless broadcasting stations. The local network will broadcast voice and data signals between five villages and the main server, which will be located at the Phon Hong Hospital nine miles away.