Monday, August 11, 2008

Akademy 2008: Literacy Bridge

Yesterday the 'KDE Contributors Conference' of the Akademy 2008 ended. And there where of course again several really interesting talks as e.g. 'Location-aware applications with GeoClue' or 'Gallium3D - Graphics Done Right'. But for me the most interesting and impressive talk was the keynote from Cliff Schmidt: 'Digital Audio to Reduce Illiteracy, Poverty and Disease'.

He spoken about the Literacy Bridge, a nonprofit organization which try to fight against illiteracy, poverty and disease by empowering people in the developing world with affordable tools for knowledge sharing and literacy learning. The goal is advancing education, health, economic development, democracy, and human rights.

Currently they are building the 'Talking Book Device', a robust/rugged low cost audio player and recorder. The plan is to produce the device for 5 Dollar, so that the people can buy the device themselves. It would allow local organizations and users to produce the content themselves as e.g. to help people to learn reading. An other example: it would enable a doctor to speak instructions on the device for taking pharmaceutical to prevent misusage.

The really impressing on the project and the organization is that they really understand the audience.They cooperate with local groups e.g. in Africa, they understand the people and their needs. And this is in my opinion why the project will success. Compared to the OLPC project this device fits into the existing infrastructure of wide parts of the developing world, it's no high-tech tool, it's easy and intuitively to use and it's really affordable.

You can find more information on the website and the blog of the organization.