Life

Education Can Be Beamed To Poor, Rural Areas With This New Device

The company Outernet seeks to build virtual libraries in places the internet doesn’t reach by blanketing the earth with data beamed from satellites.

With knowing comes the ability to introduce change and improve one’s status of well-being. But in locations where there is little access to education or inability to connect to the internet (through which free resources might be obtained), the tools needed to improve one’s quality of life are rarely available.

For this reason, the company Outernet seeks to build virtual libraries in places the internet doesn’t reach by blanketing the earth with data beamed from satellites.

It is the quest of this company to play a part in the education of humanity by offering free information to those who seek it. Outernet is doing this by providing the device that gives people a way to plug into a satellite dish and download free information already available to everyone else on the internet.

Because over four billion people presently live without routine access to the internet, this resource has potential to be a powerful solution many are seeking to improve themselves, and in effect their communities.

Credit: BuzzFeed

Credit: BuzzFeed

Said Outernet CEO, Sayed Karim: “We’ve had free radio, free TV, now there is free data.”

The “Lighthouse” device ensures a stable connection with the world by delivering access to free books and images in a way that avoids expensive infrastructure, data fees, and censorship.

People must read the material on their mobile phones, but that should no longer be a huge concern as it is becoming more common for individuals and families to own a cell phone in remote locations.

Outernet does not provide the full internet, but instead streams a data feed to the user that presently includes Wikipedia, Project Gutenberg – a collection of 49,000 books in the public domain – and a library of free e-books. Such wealth of information should no doubt stimulate the minds of many individuals around the world.

Credit: Outernet

Credit: Outernet

Furthermore, the company not only gives people access to information, it allows them to store it on the Lighthouse so they may access it in the future. Billing itself as “Humanity’s Public Library,” Outernet is intent on spreading information and education to better the world.

“Imagine what our world and global economy can accomplish when education is truly universal,” Karim said. “If we can can provide a Library of Congress in every village in the world, why should we not?”

Karim points to the story of William Kamkwamba, a teen innovator in Malawi who received international recognition when he taught himself how to build an electricity-generating windmill using a couple of books at the local library.

Who knows how many other people might improve their communities’ lives by having access to simple, free knowledge.

Credit: BuzzFeed

Credit: BuzzFeed

“Today we are one step closer to living in that world,” Karim said.

Outernet is presently creating more content for that vision, with an “edit-a-thon” being hosted at Mozilla’s East Africa festival in Uganda this weekend. It will bring together innovators and educators to create and curate more public domain and Creative Commons material to include in this new data stream.

Share your thoughts on this good news below!


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