Sure, the iPad is cool but is it solar-powered? The I-Slate is! Developed through a partnership of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Houston’s Rice University and the Villages for Development and Learning Foundation (ViDAL), an NGO in India, the I-Slate is a cheap, solar-powered computer tablet that has been designed to help children in developing countries have access to computer technologies.

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As part of the I-Slate’s test period, an electronic version of the tablet was given to millions of Indian school children to try out and play with.  If the trials go successfully, the tablets will be installed with solar panels in the frame (like calculators) so they can be fully sustainable. Many of the children have never used a computer, but early reports state that they have taken to the I-Slate like fishes to water.

The I-Slate has already gained acclaim; last year, it was selected by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)as one of seven technologies that “will have world-changing implications on the way humans interact with machines, the world and each other.”

“Children in Indian village schools are just like their peers anywhere in the world: eager to learn, tech savvy, and willing to try new pedagogical tools that engage their creative minds,”said Rajeswari Pingali, ViDAL president. “The I-slate can help bring the marvels of ICT into thousands of rural schools and contribute to an improved learning experience.”

Rice undergraduate Lauren Pemberton said the trial had already yielded results. “They immediately picked up on the technology,” she said. “They clearly didn’t like some of the things we expected to work really well, like the button placement, but they loved the scratch-pad application which was added at the last minute.”

+ Rice University

Via Energy Matters