Project Sunspot: A Solar-Powered Library Hotspot for No-Internet Areas
We want to bring millions of educational resources to rural schools with no Internet or electricity — here's how.
As part of our engineering efforts, we are developing devices that use embedded technology to provide entire libraries to schools in need without the need for an Internet connection. Each library hotspot comes preloaded with a vast collection of open source resources; in fact, a single device can hold all 6.2 million English articles on Wikipedia, more than 60,000 classic books from Project Gutenberg, Khan Academy’s complete K-12 curriculum with interactive exercises and lecture videos, a virtual physics laboratory, and a selection of curated TED talks — all accessible without an Internet connection. Each digital library’s collection may also be tailored to the specific needs of the deployment location.
For use in communities with reliable electricity, the device plugs into any USB port or wall outlet for power. But for extremely rural areas with no reliable access to electricity, we are developing a solar-powered version that doubles as a charging station for tablets and may be attached to a tree or post (pictured).
We have been able to continuously power a prototype hotspot for months at an outdoor test location in Los Angeles. But every now and then, the connection drops due to dirt accumulating on the solar panel surface; this is easily solvable by regularly cleaning the solar panel.
This technology has been developed by nonprofits such as Kiwix and World Possible, who have successfully deployed thousands of similar devices in developing countries. We hope to replicate their distribution model and build upon their technical work to help support our initiatives abroad.
"Project Sunspot" is a continuing project of our Innovation Initiative.
RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning) at World Possible