Laos project for Internet access

Look, ma, no electricity needed! This is exactly what is happening in Laos. Writes the Economist: “The Jhai Foundation devised a machine that has no moving, and few delicate, parts. Instead of a hard disk, the Jhai PC relies on flash-memory chips to store its data. Its screen is a liquid-crystal display, rather than an energy-guzzling glass cathode-ray tubean exception to the rule that the components used are old-fashioned, and therefore cheap. (No Pentiums, for example, just a 486-type processor.) Lee Thorn, the head of the Jhai Foundation, an American-Lao organisation, estimates that, built in quantity, each Jhai PC would cost around $400. Furthermore, because of its simplicity, a Jhai PC can be powered by a car battery charged with bicycle cranksthus removing the need for a connection to the grid. Wireless Internet cards connect each Jhai PC to a solar-powered hilltop relay station which then passes the signals on to a computer in town that is connected to both the Lao phone system (for local calls) and to the Internet.”

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