Sunday, July 22, 2012

technology crafts

Spent a few days in the tech wonderland that is Tokyo, a city that is so high-tech that it doesn't feel tech at all. If that makes sense. Nothing flashy or even that many touch screens, just tech embedded into daily life - mobile phones while commuting, to pay for the train rides, to open up promo codes and coupons, to buy a softdrink, cup of coffee, pack of cigarettes. Anywhere.

What is clear is that the infrastructure, specifically mobile, has slowly but surely been built into the structures of their everyday lives - trains, convenience stores. And while that has been inspiring and amazing to see, I haven't quite figured out the actionable learning for a city like Manila or a country like the Philippines. We are social, sure, but that happened in spite of a crappy telephony infrastructure. So how do we create value-add mobile solutions when there is nothing to build on? 

Just came across a TED talk about technology crafts:
Two-thirds of the world may not have access to the latest smartphone, but local electronic shops are adept at fixing older tech using low-cost parts. Vinay Venkatraman explains his work in "technology crafts," through which a mobile phone, a lunchbox and a flashlight can become a digital projector for a village school, or an alarm clock and a mouse can be melded into a medical device for local triage.

Maybe there is hope after all.

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