ThinkBit TechLabs: technology labs against poverty
 Posted on 31/05/2014 - 13:48
Idea Outline
The TechLabs are permanent places situated in the poorest neighborhoods of our cities, where children from 6 to 15 years old can learn robotics, programming and electronics for free, helped by volunteers from university engineering degrees.

The Challenge
In the near future, wealth inequality will not be based on the lack of financial resources available to the individual but on the lack of free and easy access to the knowledge to create technology and interact with it. This was one of the main topics of the 2014 World Economic Forum. But in our humble opinion, this issue has been unaddressed in our society since long time ago, and it is already the reason of the huge contrast of standards of living we can find in any European urban conurbation. In the poor communities the cycle unemployment-school failure-unemployment seems to have no end, whether they are in a third world country or in a city like Madrid or Paris. Education is the solution to it, and technology the ground to achieve the greatest and earliest change to this situation.

The Solution

We want to explore the social impact of open-source hardware&software when delivered to the poorest and youngest segments of the population. We need your help to equip the TechLabs with Arduino, Raspberry Pi and 3D Printers. We also plan to teach them Python and app programming with FirefoxOS. We pursue direct action on this communities, teaching kids to use but more important, to create technology.
The solution we propose is to establish centers of co-creation and educational innovation within the worst neighborhoods of the cities. This labs will put in the hands of the children the resources they need -for free-. ThinkBit will organise the volunteers, choosing them within the university technical degrees. Thanks to our partners ICEAS and QSMHM, we already have the spaces needed.

Target group and social impact
For this first phase, ThinkBit aims to reach two of the poorest neighbourhoods of Madrid, Pan Bendito and Tetuan. We target the different communities that live in those places, mostly inmigrants and Romani people. The crisis has struck them in a stronger way than the rest of the population, so the social inequality has got even bigger there. There is no similar actions taking place in areas like these. We expect to change the lives of a whole generation, those who have between 6 and 15 years old. The areas we will cover sum up a population of more than 410.000 people, and we already have plenty of youngsters interested in taking part of this activities in October 2014. We want them to have the same opportunities, regardless where they have been born. And it can be reproduced at any city!

Competences of the applicant
Andres Quezada Reed: co-founder of ThinkBit and student of Aeronautical Engineering. Plays ukelele/Miquel Larsson: co-founder of ThinkBit and student of Aerospace Engineering/Patricia Salvo: economist with large experience in the assessment and managment of innovative social projects/Jaime Velasco: telecommunications engineer working in the management consulting field

Video Link
See video

Social Category
  • Civic Empowerment and Community Engagement
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Knowledge Society and Education
  • Social Inclusion, Human Rights and Equality

  • Tecnology Category
  • Mobile
  • Open Source
  • Physical Computing
  • Social Software
  • Web/Internet

  • Please log in to Rate this Idea

    Relevant problem, realistic approach, but I am not shure if 3D printing is the best idea to fix that problem...

    Idea Submitter

    Thanks Fritz. Regarding 3D printing, it completes Arduino/Raspberry Pi in a very powerful way: we can show the kids the whole prototyping process. With Arduino and Raspberry Pi they work on the software and hardware to design their project (a robot, a home automation solution...). With the 3D printer they can actually build it!

    So in a small working table they have the whole industrial process of creating a product/solution.