The Talking Book demonstrates that access to information need not be limited to the computer model that we are most familiar with.
The Talking Book is an excellent example of how the basic principles of input – output and information retrieval can be re-imagined to overcome digital illiteracy and provide knowledge to those most in need of it.
Literacy Bridge worked for a period of 18 months to develop a solution to a problem facing Ghananian farmers. Small scale producers would receive advice from agricultural extension officers to help them improve their yield, but these visits were often infrequent and consequently content intensive. Illiterate farmers had no way to document or retrieve the information imparted to them during these visits.
The Talking Book was the solution – a low cost, open – source software, digital audio computer which plays instructions in the local language. It is similar in appearance to Buddha Machines and it’s functionality is not dissimilar to a crude MP3 player, minus the screen:
The device can be programmed to include learning exercises and quizzes to test the listener’s understanding of the subject. Users can play, record and categorise audio recordings and copy those recordings directly to any other Talking Book with a USB cable.
In addition to assisting agricultural producers the Talking Book has seen use in overcrowded classrooms to help children improve their literacy
[Via ICT Update]