In Developing countries, resources can be scarce, like electricity. There are many off the grid villages out there today, but they are still filled with children that want—and need—to learn. Schools are trying their best, but they need a little help—access to technology is key. Rice University is teaming up with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Villages for Development and Learning Foundation in India to bring something quite amazing to the classroom. They are calling it the I-Slate, a tablet that will run off of solar energy, similar to calculators. Students from Rice University have actually written the self-directing math applications that allow the device to work, while school children in India have already started testing the first prototypes. Based on their feedback, changes will be implemented for the second round of models. Someday soon, these devices will be used in classrooms all around the world, improving the quality of education and hopefully breaking the cycle of poverty.
Another project, being carried out by Professor Tony Rest and former teacher Keith Wilkinson are working on using abundant solar energy to power mini digital projectors and computers for classrooms in developing countries. The projectors use only 50 watts of power, and solar panel costs are coming down, making it feasible for schools. This will give students access to better science and technology education. Solar energy generators are safer and cheaper than traditional petrol generators that are currently in use. With these advances, not only our we taking care of our fellows in need, but the demands of bringing technology into these challenging spaces also forces developers to think of the environment and create ways to work with what is naturally provided, leading to more green products.