Solar WiFi Kiosk

  • Shiriki Hub (TM) Solar WiFi Kiosk
    Client: African Renewable Energy Distribution (ARED) & Autodesk Foundation
    Location: Rwanda

    Objective: To redesign a solar-charging kiosk to be smarter, more user-friendly, serviceable, durable, and ultimately scalable.

    Context: Electricity and internet access are limited for both urban and rural low-income communities in Rwanda. ARED are in a position to scale up the manufacturing of their solar kiosks, mobile stands that provide cellphone charging stations and access to basic online services. Before committing their current design to mass manufacture, ARED needed to address design shortcomings affecting serviceability, maintenance, and usability. The Autodesk Foundation funded Catapult to assist ARED in defining a concept. 

    Process: To initiate the project, Catapult conducted user research, focus groups, and prior art analysis. We visited ARED's manufacturing and technology partners to understand their expectations and gather any additional unforeseen design constraints. After pursuing several conceptual directions, the team traveled to Rwanda to prototype and test concepts at full scale. We returned to refine the design with the feedback from these tests, producing a refined CAD model and a 1:10 scale 3D print for the client to use with commercialization partners. 

    Innovation & Impact: Catapult's work resulted in a design that includes significant improvements to durability, adaptability to technology upgrades, a desk-like feel for the operator, and a skinny profile that can easily fit through local doorways and traffic. It also can be secured with one lock and towed behind a bicycle for easy transportation. Dubbed the ShirikiHub (TM), it provides more advertising space, has an audio advertising platform with built-in speakers, and draws more attention with its contemporary aesthetic. Prototypes have been manufactured by ARED's partner and are currently being piloted throughout Rwanda.