In developing countries like India, over 100 million children do not have electricity in their schools; which rules out the thought of having computers at these schools. With the development of recent solar powered tablet computer technology, these rural Indian students are the test subjects for the I-Slate a touchscreen tablet made possible by Rice University and Nanyang Tech University in Singapore.
Completely run on solar energy, these cleverly designed touch screen tablet devices may be the future of computers around the world, regardless of economic status. By using a free natural resource, technology can (and probably will) be given to everyone, even children in third world countries. Life in India and other developing counties is going to change; that change starts with the children and how they access and interact with technology.
Due to the development of newly designed microchips, these touch screen tablets will eventually run completely on panels that are similar to those found in calculators with a solar on/off feature. Low energy consumption microchips use up a fraction of the electricity that typical processors do.
This amazing tablet computer advancement was originally the creation of Krishna Palem from Rice University. However, researchers at Nanyang Tech University in Singapore have also taken part in the development of the I-Slate project. The Indian non-profit organization Villages for Development and Learning Foundation (ViDAL) and Switzerlands Center for Electronics and Microtechnology have also contributed to the development of the I-Slate. This project is a compilation of the efforts of many different talented people around the world who believe in the message the I-Slate hopes to convey.
Rural Indian schoolchildren near the Indian city of Hyderabad, mostly ranging in ages from 10 to 13 have began testing early prototypes.
Most of the children who have been testing the I-Slate have never used a computer or even seen a computer before. Like most children, they were naturally tech savvy and immediately picked up on how to use the touch screen tablet. Their curiosity helped to make the testing process a success.
In 2009, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) deemed the I-Slate to be one of seven of the most promising new technologies that would have world-changing implications on the way humans interact with machines, the world and each other. With a computer in every classroom around the world, just think of the creativity and life-changing endeavors that can be achieved. The I-Slate is about to change the world as we know it. India and other developing countries that have previously failed to provide ample opportunity for all its citizens will benefit the most from this new technological advance. With successful development of the I-Slate, a computer can be within reach of literally anyone.