Pedal power drives Laos net dreams
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CTA. 2002. Pedal power drives Laos net dreams. ICT Update Issue 9. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57574
Pedal power drives Laos net dreams: bicycle-powered PCs should get remote villages online , BBC East Asia Today, 21 November 2002
Pedal power drives Laos net dreams: bicycle-powered PCs should get remote villages online , BBC East Asia Today, 21 November 2002 Diplomatically isolated and desperately poor, Laos has only recently taken the first tentative steps towards cyberspace. Phon Kam is one of five villages which are part of a pioneering project to link up remote villages with each other and the wider world. The remote PC project was set up by the Jhai Foundation. Jhai had been working with the villagers to dig wells and make handicrafts. But what the villagers were crying out for was access to the internet. Jhai enlisted some of the sharpest minds in Silicon Valley to devise a machine that could operate in harsh conditions and with no technical support. Instead of a hard drive with moving and delicate parts, the Jhai PC relies on flash memory chips to store data. The PC is assembled from off-the-shelf components and uses less than 20 watts during normal use. The machine is so rugged its creators say it can survive dirt, heat and even immersion in water. And the power supply? The solution is simple: pedal power. Because of its simplicity, the Jhai PC can be powered by a car battery charged with bicycle cranks. Each village PC is connected via wireless Internet cards to a solar-powered hilltop relay station, which passes the signal on to the nearest town of Phon Hong, 30km away. The town is in turn connected to both the Lao telephone system and to the Internet.