Engadget was good enough to feature the Geekcorps Mali Wifi-via-water-bottle antenna designed by Ian Howard and crew… but they didn’t credit Ian or Geekcorps. As Ian points out in a comment on the piece, the Geekcorps crew is now developing antennas as inexpensive as $2 per install. And they’re reaching out to the web as a whole for help on other challenging problems, like how to heat-sink a Pentium 4 in a country where the air is filled with fine Saharan dust and daytime temperatures can exceed 55C. (That’s 130F for you Americans in the crowd…)
The Mali program – which is designed to help provide wireless Internet access to community radio stations – was the last project I had a hand in designing for Geekcorps. It’s working amazingly well, bringing broadband to a number of radio stations, and helping others start digitally engineering and editing their broadcasts.
Of the efforts taking place under the Geekcorps brand name, Geekcorps Mali is the one closest to my original vision for Geekcorps and the one I’m proudest of. I’m ludicriously grateful to Ian for the hard work he’s done in Mali, and in keeping the Geekcorps vision alive.
Thanks to Ndesanjo Macha’s Digital Africa for pointing me to the Engadget story.
Can that plastic water bottle design really withstand +55 degrees Celsius temparatures over a period of years, raging winds and sand storms, curious flying, four-legged, and two-legged creatures running around over in Mali? Or would it be better to switch to a glass bottle?
Nonetheless, a very cool idea, and cheap. What does the specs, operational performance and reliability of this DIY WiFi antenna design look like compared to a factory manufactured model? What are the projected cost savings over an extended period of time?
Just replace it with a fresh one (party time…)