Members of MIT's Bits and Atoms lab visited Afghanistan some time ago. While there, they showed locals how to turn pieces of board, wire, a plastic tub and some cans into reflectors for a wireless network. The result? Fab Fi.
The project resulted in 25 simultaneous live nodes being up in the city of Jalalabad and residents being able to enjoy a stable connection all over the place. Locals are even expanding the network by adding more reflectors and routers. There are some difficulties in actually obtaining the routers though, but the MIT crew—now dubbed the Jalalabad Fab Lab—are helping resolve those by shipping routers over.
On the surface this is a tale of some clever University MacGyvers, a small place in Afghanistan, and a makeshift Wi-Fi network, but the greater idea is that people came together to provide a new method of communication to an area where Skype calls and quick Google searches weren't a common luxury. Sure, now the area is exposed to time wasters and Internet porn, but it's also been provided some new opportunities to learn and explore. [Free Range International via Futurismic via Boing Boing]