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iSlate: A ‘Pad’ for Indian kids

Though the distribution of iPad in Mumbai seems less, scientist from Singapore are trying to design a low cost, less power consuming Tablet that can be charged directly from sun’s energy, and especially for those kids living in countryside areas. Rice University and NTU (Nanyang Technological University) from Singapore are manufacturing low power consuming electronic notepad referred to as iSlate. These electronic notepad are aimed at helping hundred million Indian kids studying in schools that are still without electricity facilities.

The leading effort taker to replace the old handheld slates with these modern iSlates, Rich University’s Krishna Palem said “The economic potential of India can be balanced only by these affordable, low priced technologies that suit all people”.

The iSlate is being developed at NTU by the ISAID (Institute of Sustainable and Applied Info Dynamics). The first model of the iSlate has been developed by a team consisting of 3 UG students from Rice University, and now they are gearing up for the 2nd round of test in India by the end of November.

This device is a series of electronic tablets that are built with a new idea of green, power stingy microchips that are low power consuming, said Palem.

The ISAID partnering with Centre for Electronics and Microtechnology from Switzerland are developing these chips that are responsible for making the iSlate to work on solar energy, just like a calculator’s solar panels. The iSlate has been under test during the summer and were tested by shcoll students near Hyderabad at the start of Aug month.

ViDAL, a non profit firm in Hyderabad worked with ISAID in order to test the prototypes in a drought prone village that is present 110 km southwest of Hyderabad, named Mohd Hussainpalli. The ViDAL’s President Rajeswari Pingali said, “Village school students are just like the other students found in rest of the world, as they want to learn, tech sense and want to use educational facilities to keep their mind engaged. The iSlate is sure to bring the advantages of technology onto several village schools in a way to enhance the learning experience”.

Shelby Reinhardt and Lauren Pemberton from Rice University worked on the first iSlate app, mathematics teaching app, for over 10 weeks. During Aug, along with Vincent Mooney and Pingali, they conducted a campaign to find how much a class of 10 to 13 aged kids loved the tlablet.

Reinhardt said, “Lot of kids had not used a PC or played a Game before, so we aren’t sure of their reaction to this device”. Pemberton said, “They quickly got hold of this technology, but they did not understand some thing like button placement and love to scratch some last minute designed pad apps”.

Pingalis said, “Some kids pointed out that the stylus was thin but was writing thicker on the pad and it would be better if the stylus in thicker and writer thinner on screen”.

Su Guaning, the NTU President said, “This green electronic notepad work on less power, even from solar energy gives a bright future for all the poor communities”.