An Audio Computer for Rs.500

We have talked about Literacy Bridge and the work that they do in an earlier post on our blog. Pratham Books is also looking at collaborating with Literacy Bridge and using our material for a pilot program. More news on the Literacy Bridge project and their arrival in India…

Via MumbaiMirror.com

Literacy Bridge, a non-profit organisation based in the US, has developed a new “sub-$10 audio computer” called the Talking Book Device, which is designed to improve literacy skills and facilitate access to information for rural people living with poverty and disease.

Developed by ex-Microsoft program manager Cliff Schmidt, the gadget is essentially a low-cost digital audio player with built-in speakers and a standard 3.5mm audio jack.

When paired with textbooks, students can engage in comprehension and pronunciation activities, play back lessons at various speeds, skip ahead or backwards, define vocabulary words, engage in multiple-choice style question-and-answer sessions, and other interactive activities.

Schimidt is also actively working with the Akshara Foundation – a Bangalore-based non-profit that works towards complete child literacy.

While the device currently costs $10, initial estimates by the researchers show that importing it to Bangalore for trials would raise the cost to around $15 – which is hoped to be curbed further by subsidies, donations, and other sanctions.

“We have been actively involved with the foundation to run two pilot projects in India: One in Bangalore as an urban pilot and another in Hubli as a semi-urban/rural pilot project,” Schimidt said. “Akshara is very active at the grassroot levels and believes the gadget will be useful to children across the constituencies they serve.”

He also noted that further development on the Talking Book could see it meet its goal within a couple of years: An ‘audio computer’ for $5.

Read the entire article here and also learn about their pilot program in Ghana.

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  1. Niteen Views October 2, 2009

    I was wondering if there has been any development in the pilot project by Akshara Foundation that was supposed to be done in Bengaluru and Hubli


  2. Gautam October 2, 2009

    Hi Niteen, it's been taking a little longer than expected but we should have some news on this in the next month or so. However, if you'd like, we could put you in touch with Literacy Bridge, all the same?


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