NextLab I: Designing Mobile Technologies for the Next Billion Users

Photo of a man mending a fishing net, overlaid with the words 'I AM NEXT.'

NextLab designs mobile technologies for the next billion users in developing countries.


MIT Course Number

MAS.965 / 6.976 / EC.S06

As Taught In

Fall 2008


Undergraduate / Graduate

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Course Description

Course Features

Course Highlights

This course features over 100 videos, documenting the development of seven team-based projects, along with most class lectures and student-led discussions of assigned class readings.

Course Description

Can you make a cellphone change the world?

NextLab is a hands-on year-long design course in which students research, develop and deploy mobile technologies for the next billion mobile users in developing countries. Guided by real-world needs as observed by local partners, students work in multidisciplinary teams on term-long projects, closely collaborating with NGOs and communities at the local level, field practitioners, and experts in relevant fields.

Students are expected to leverage technical ingenuity in both mobile and internet technologies together with social insight in order to address social challenges in areas such as health, microfinance, entrepreneurship, education, and civic activism. Students with technically and socially viable prototypes may obtain funding for travel to their target communities, in order to obtain the first-hand feedback necessary to prepare their technologies for full fledged deployment into the real world (subject to guidelines and limitations).

Related Content

Jhonatan Rotberg, Luis Sarmenta, Gari Clifford, and Rich Fletcher. MAS.965 NextLab I: Designing Mobile Technologies for the Next Billion Users. Fall 2008. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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