SPELL Solar Digital Library Prototype Debuts at SLO MakerFaire

The students in Cal Poly’s Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies (LAES) 411 proudly debuted the SPELL solar powered digital library prototype at the San Luis Obispo MakerSpace Expo on May 9, 2015.


The Solar Powered Educational Learning Library (SPELL) is designed for remote, rural schools with no electricity or Internet access. It provides an offline digital library, yet through a WiFi hotspot, simulates an online experience for any web-enabled device.


The team has partnered with the US Peace Corps in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Vanuatu, to distribute 50 of these libraries to remote Pacific Island schools in August/September 2015. Team members will travel to FSM and Vanuatu to introduce the libraries and provide trainings to the Peace Corps volunteers, who in turn will be using them at the schools where they are stationed as part of their mission to teach English and use technology, where possible.


The library is designed to be a plug-and-play, all-in-one kit, taking advantage of the miniaturization and decreasing costs of computers and related technology. The technology used in the SPELL library is entirely off-the-shelf, which makes it open access, as well as affordable. The educational content is also entirely open access.

The goal for the library was that it be as simple and straightforward as possible. The team will meet its target price of less than $150 per unit with this first production run of 50 units.


The library consists of:

Banana Pi Microcomputer with WiFi Dongle and 32 GB SD Card
10W Eco-Worthy Solar Panel
Voltage Regulator
10,000 mAh Rechargeable Battery
Micro USB Connector Cords

Further information about the project can be found on the project website: solarspell.org


About ljhosman

Laura Hosman is Assistant Professor at Arizona State University. She holds a dual position in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and in The Polytechnic School.
This entry was posted in Cal Poly, Micronesia, Pacific Islands, Peace Corps, Solar Computer Lab in a Box, Solar Digital Library, Solar Power and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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