Most of us can no longer consider a life without the internet, technology or even access to electricity. In fact, if you're reading this right now, chances are you are sitting at a computer with the lights on, a cell phone handy and about a gazillion other gadgets and electrical outlets within walking distance. Jan Chipchase, who is a Principal Researcher in the User Experience Group of Nokia Research Center, does ethnographic fieldwork all over the globe, particularly in places where access to electricity and mobile phones is limited. His recent study about rural charging services in Uganda revealed how locals stay powered up without access to main power.
He found that many communities powered up using car batteries in the home, and businesses such as bars run off car batteries or their own power generator. The car batteries cost about $30 or $40 and can keep a household lit for a month, but the same battery might only last a week in a bar. Inside houses, families used the batteries to run radios, CD players, television and domestic lighting.
Of course, as a result of the power limitations, locals have developed alternative solutions, such as phone-sharing systems and battery-charging stations where batteries can be recharged for a small price. How do you think you would fair?
To check out more slides from the study,