To set the scene, currently Google and Facebook are arguing over who would own the technology that could one day provide wireless internet to the most remote areas of the world. At that same time numerous engineers and designers compete to make the best and most efficient, compact, easily transported, solar powered and preferably wireless charging station that can eliminate the problem of dying battery when we most need it.
But while all this is happening, people’s needs are still not met, and unfortunately not everyone is lucky enough to have time to just sit and wait for the tech giants to transfer companies between each other. For many nomads, internet and energy is what keeps them connected to the world for days out in the open with no other human contact. I guess it does not come as a surprise that If there is no better option, they simply have to find the solution themselves. So, what did they come up with? The answer is, the “Plug-and-Play” donkey, the animal that submissively carries solar panels across the remote landscapes of Turkey, providing essential energy supply and connectivity to its owner- the shepherd.
The panels are provided by the Turkish solar panel manufacturer Ser-Gun. Each panel generates up to 7kW of electricity, which should be sufficient to charge a laptop, a cellphone and night lights. The price of the Plug-and-play pack is $1,320 USD, although I am not entirely sure whether this covers only the solar panels and batteries, or the donkey is included too. Half of the money comes as a subsidy from the Turkish government, and the aim of the program is to make shepherds more comfortable during the long periods of isolation. Here you can find a short promotional video.
At first, the idea sounded slightly ridiculous to me, but I guess as our society evolves, and technology progresses, so do our needs and demands. Back in the days, nomads had basic needs such as food, water, warm clothes and used animals to transport such supplies. Now, however, they require laptops, cell phones, lamps, meaning that they need to bring a whole energy generating system with them, therefore use donkeys to transport solar panels for charging batteries.
Image (c) BBC