A new electronic pen and pad from South Africa-based tech developer Xcallibre is helping African governments to collect vital agricultural information that could potentially help to avert future food crises.
The pen and pad can be used by farmers in remote locations to provide up-to-date information about the state of their crops and livestock. The data is easily sent via Bluetooth to a mobile phone, and is then automatically transmitted to a government GPRS server. The data collection process used to take up to three months, with a normal pen and pad, and meant that official decisions were being made with outdated information.
The lack of existing infrastructure and a strong global outlook mean that developing countries are increasingly able to leapfrog the technological teething problems developed nations may face. This makes the region a great large-scale testing ground for new products, as there are no over-complicated formatting issues amongst a largely tech-free people. What’s more, Westernised devices, such as mobile phones, are being adapted in new and innovative ways far removed from their designers’ original intentions.