Umar Saif received a very coveted award this week from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his groundbreaking project to bring internet access to those who cannot otherwise afford it. Saif’s project is centered primarily around poor families in his home country of Pakistan where many people are struggling to afford food; let alone a computer and internet access. Saif says that he hopes his revolutionary project will unite the people with the one technology they all have; cell phones.
Like so many revolutionary projects Saif says he got the idea following the earthquake disaster in Pakistan in 2005; ever since then he has been working on this internet style communication system for cell phones all around the world. The idea may not have brought full internet to the people of the region but he says it will likely be able to save thousands of lives by connecting everyone to a unified source of information.
The project is remarkably simple as well; which is part of why he received the away from MIT. Saif’s project is simply a computerized system that allows users to join the network using a cell phone number; should an emergency or other major issue break the computer will be able to easily and quickly communicate important information to anyone who has joined the cell phone social network. The best part is that the entire system works with even the oldest and most out of date phones so Saif hopes that everyone will eventually be able to benefit from this potentially life saving device.