While the mobile phone has become vital in many developing countries where people do not have access to laptops, tablets or PCs, the electrical infrastructure remains poor, unreliable or often non-existent.
It is believed that 700 million people with access to a telephone do not have electricity, including 300 million in India alone. Globally, it is estimated that around one billion people do not have access to reliable electricity.
Tech start-up BuffaloGrid found a solution in the form of a mobile phone charging hub with an internet connection that can charge multiple phones at once using power from solar panels.
The prototype device is being used in mobile operator stores in rural India where the electricity supply is unreliable and intermittent, as well as in refugee camps around the world.
The company has also partnered with Techfugees to provide free educational, health and other digital content through the hub in East Africa and the Middle East.
BuffaloGrid turned to A2E and Wideblue, two Pivot International group companies based in Scotland, to help with the technical details when designing the hub prototype.
Wideblue, based in Glasgow, worked on mechanical design and A2E, based in Livingston, on electronics and software. When the device goes into mass production, Pivot will manage manufacturing through its production facilities in Asia.
David Ross, CEO of A2E, said: “This project has been very interesting and interesting to work on because it used the technical capabilities of the whole group.
“We take power supply for granted in the developed world, but there are many parts of the world where it is unreliable and unpredictable. “
BuffaloGrid boss Daniel Becerra said: “Working with Pivot, A2E and Wideblue has been the perfect solution for our needs. When producing hardware, having the link between the developers and the manufacturer in the same group makes things extremely efficient and secure.
The company plans to commercially supply hundreds of hubs over the next 12 months and is in talks with the UN regarding projects in Uganda, Papua New Guinea, Haiti and Rwanda.
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