Africa’s First Solar-powered Desktop Computer

Posted on July 28th, 2014
Grow Technology

A Cape Town-based tech firm called Capsule Technologies has designed Africa’s first solar-powered desktop computer that runs on Android.

The device is called the IMPI Mk1 and is recognised as a World Design Capital project. It  is highly energy-efficient and can operate on 20W, compared with other desktop computers which can burn an average of 200W to 400W.

Capsule Technologies founder Megan Verkuil said in a statement that the computer was built in response to Africa’s energy crisis.

The computer can be plugged into a solar panel, has WiFi capability, a 500GB hard drive and up to 4GB of RAM (random-access memory); it retails for R3,300.

Verkuil said the company had chosen to use Android as the operating system because “it is less intimidating since most young people in Africa are using Android-powered smartphones”.

“It is an African computer and is targeted at communities that don’t have power”

Affordably designed for Africa

The computer also uses open-source applications, meaning it is cheap to run.

Verkuil said that even though the computer was not “aesthetically pleasing”, it was durable and able to withstand the dusty African terrain. “It is an African computer and is targeted at communities that don’t have power.”

Capsule Technologies is only five months old and has 10 staff members focusing on research and development. The company hopes to expand into Africa, and is in talks about taking its product to other countries on the continent.

Verkuil said the company was committed to creating more jobs, and would be hiring more people in the coming months.

Commenting on this innovation, Western Cape economic opportunities MEC Alan Winde said: “This is an example of the talented entrepreneurs in the Western Cape. Their invention is playing a role positioning the Western Cape as the continent’s innovation hub,” he said.

“It also demonstrates unique solutions for African challenges.”