Gadgets old and new unite old and young

What do robots, 3D gaming, BBC computers, podcasting, zeer pots and cooking stoves have in common?   Judging by the evidence, albeit anecdotal, at the gadget show live in Birmingham today the answer is there is something about technology that either interests you or it doesn’t.   This doesn’t depend on the age of the technology or the person.   Technology is of interest to a wide group of people, albeit that most were “dads and lads”.  It became clear that a person’s interest in gadgets also gave them insights into the challenges and opportunities posed by introducing technologies into developing countries.   My pre-show scepticism appeared to be unfounded…it was a really worthwhile day: from a personal point of view in terms of the rich conversations I had; and from a professional point of view in terms of the contacts I made.   This is ample demonstration that an organisation like Practical Action sometimes needs to take well judged risks in order to reach audiences that have hitherto appeared uninterested, or unaware of our work.

Our special 3D glasses were a big hit with kids and all agreed that they gave a 3D view without the aid of electricity – an interesting juxtaposition with the nVidia stand across the aisle where people had to wear special (hi-tech) glasses to see the screen in 3D.   The cooking stove was a big hit with visitors from Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon amongst others.   All were deeply touched by the health hazards from smoke in the home.   The humble mp3 player coupled with a solar charger captured many people’s imagination.   Most people guessed the function of the zeer pot and instantly appreciated the way in which such technologies could be adopted locally.   Those interested in camping wanted a solar lantern for their tent.

The show was the start of a conversation with a group of people who are fascinated by technology.   Many visitors wanted to take the short questionnaire to determine what kind of geek they are: social, work, collector or uber – if you are interested in joining the geek club more information can be found by following the link.   We need to continue that conversation to ensure that all of humanity can have a choice about the technology they use.   Please join us in that conversation…

Leave a reply