An update on Light2Read ramblings.


Abel Caine of UNESCO has a new take (Aug 2014): “APTUS is the critical missing factor for teaching young people without wide-internet on how to develop mobile apps”.


It’s been a little while since I’ve posted to this forum from Namibia, but having just attended an Open Data meeting ( hosted by ECA in Addis Ababa, where the prognosis for *affordable* benchmarked broadband internet access at African schools remains a gloomy long-term (the year 2063?) pipe dream, I’ve decided to get involved in ICT4E again :-).  Well, for as long as I know there are still a gazillion disconnected homes and schools out there.

This post-SchoolNet Namibia project expects to accelerate the availability of low-cost OER-sharing devices in places where there are no libraries, no electricity nor Internet.  Having been involved in earlier device development iterations such as RACHEL Pi and our own LIBRARY Pi, I’ve not had any response from COL’s APTUS email address, nor does the web link to more info on the APTUS page work (a 404 error 😦 ).  I seem to recall there are COL who have their roots in Namibia??  And there’s even Viz Naidoo 🙂 there! 

Does anyone have contact with the APTUS developers? I would really like to know when this device will become available beyond the test phase.  I’m particularly interested in the way this project appears to have flashed the firmware of their TP-link wireless routers, using OpenWRT ( and a price tag of less than US$100.

Has anyone undertaken a comparison of APTUS versus similar mini-PC/wireless router configurations?  Possibly, along with several tablet-based schemes ostensibly geared to fill the gap left by Rodrigo Arboleda Halaby and the OLPC gang.  

We’ve come up with an open source, dumbed down, hardware solution called Light2Read here in Namibia, which can serve any educational content on a USB memory stick, in the absence of Internet/electricity.  It’s a 5volt,  rechargeable battery-operated TP-link wireless router (with flashed firmware) and a USB stick.  It can operate for ±5 hours between charges.  The how-to instructions (two plain txt files) and a bin file (made with OpenWRT) needed to flash this specific router’s firmware, are available in a public Dropbox folder. 

As a starter,  we’re using RACHEL as a convenient download-able collection of OER, but with hot-swappable USB sticks any content can be served to handheld and desktop devices which have wireless (802.11etc) capability.  

The components are readily available off the shelf in retail outlets in Namibia, South Africa and Ethiopia (places I’ve shopped in, thus far), and I expect much more widely given the TP-link brand’s reputation.  we’ve managed to keep the local end-user price to just under US$50.  

Anyway, take a look at my revised project description – 

for a little more insight,  and by all means contact me directly for more details!

Kind regards

Joris Komen
NetDay Namibia

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