Lifeline Energy has launched a solar and self-powered digital MP3-enabled radio called the Lifeplayer. The Lifeplayer bridges Internet, cellular, media player and radio technologies and can deliver on-demand educational programming for the poor. The non-profit, formerly known as the Freeplay Foundation, designed and engineered the product in South Africa after years of research undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Lifeplayer represents the first time that the extremely poor have the opportunity to access real-time information on demand anytime, anywhere – in even the most remote locations - without concern for electricity or batteries. The device serves as an ideal medium for instructing groups in English, math, science, financial literacy, business training and other subjects where there is a shortage of skilled teachers. It also will be used to teach government and private sector workers, as adult education is almost non-existent in developing countries.
The Lifeplayer, created for humanitarian sector use only, can be pre-loaded to hold years of educational content – up to 64GB; can update programming with an microSD™ card, including downloaded audio Internet content; can play downloaded cellular content sent across 3G networks; and can record live voice onto the device that can later be uploaded to the Internet. The Lifeplayer is robustly constructed to operate in any climate and condition, and with its robust sound system, groups of 60 listeners can hear it clearly.
Powered by solar or a hand-crank as a secondary energy source, the Lifeplayer is completely power independent, which is critical given the paucity of electricity in rural areas. Its wireless solar panel can charge a cell phone through a USB lead, an essential feature since people often walk miles to charge their phones.
The Lifeplayer has outstanding sound quality to ensure 60 learners can hear it clearly. There are AM/FM/SW bands allowing for local and international radio access. Radio remains unrivalled as a communication medium, but has limitations. If you’re not listening at the time of broadcast, you never get a chance to hear a lost programme. With the MP3 Lifeplayer, people can record live programmes and repeatedly listen to them 24/7 and in an emergency or disaster, educational or informational programming for displaced populations can be locally loaded.
Demand within the aid sector has been overwhelming since the Freeplay Foundation launched the Lifeline radio in 2003. More than 215,000 have been distributed across Africa and elsewhere, reaching anywhere from 20 to 250 listeners per radio. Currently, more than 1,000 Lifeline radios are being distributed in Haiti and Lifeline Energy is accepting donations to assist Pakistan’s flood victims with information and light.
(Source: Lifeline Energy)