UCT CS Research Document Archive

Making Technology Invisible in the Developing World

Marsden, Gary, Ed Cutrell, Amit Nanavati, Matt Jones and Nitendra Rajput (2012) Making Technology Invisible in the Developing World. IEEE Computer:82-85.

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Those of us who live in the developed world dwell in an ecology where information is literally everywhere. Besides physical forms such as newspapers, books and magazines, the air around us is crammed with signals carrying information that we can access and use almost without thought on our smartphones and other devices. Information, and the technologies that allow us to access it, are so convenient that we scarcely think about them. They are mostly invisible to our conscious mind.

However, for those living in the developing world, information is less than ubiquitous. Although many of people in the developing world have a cellular handset, issues around cost of access and user literacy barriers mean that accessing information is a deliberate, complicated and expensive undertaking. People living here cannot effortlessly pluck invisible information from the air but must go to great lengths to find the information they need.

In the rest of this article we shall explore three separate projects that seek to make access to information ubiquitous for these users. We will highlight systems that fit naturally into their ecologies effectively making the technology invisible and allowing users natural, convenient access to information sources.

EPrint Type:Journal (Paginated)
ID Code:787
Deposited By:Marsden, Gary
Deposited On:16 October 2012