South Africa brings new tricks to old technology

School children can benefit from technology Copyright: USAID

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South Africa faces a unique set of technological problems, but entrepreneurs are coming up with inventive ways to overcome them, reports BBC Online.

Children in rural areas are using a two-way satellite link and motion-sensitive white boards to interact with specialist teachers located in Pretoria. Organisers hope the scheme will eventually be funded by the government and extended to regions further afield.

In the poor township of Alexandra, a local entrepreneur is using his proximity to a mobile mast in a wealthier neighbourhood to provide local access to broadband through wireless technology.

In a small rural community in the east, hilly terrain separating the local AIDS clinic and hospice makes communication difficult. Cable connections are too expensive and they are too far apart for wireless coverage.

But putting the wireless aerials inside tin cans focuses and strengthens the signal. They overcome the problem of hills disrupting the signal by using a network of these ‘cantennas’ to pass the signal from one point to another.

These schemes are helping to get technologies to the people who need them.

Link to full article on BBC Online