Teemu from FLOSSE Posse blog just rocked my world with a post introducing the MobilED project.
In short, it’s a service where you can send a txt message as a search and get a call back from a screen reader who reads you the Wikipedia entry for your results! I could really, and I mean REALLY use that! And if that wasn’t enough! If the entry doesn’t exist, then it will take your dictation and start the article for you!
You just absolutely have to download and watch the video to comprehend how very cool this idea is!
By the look of the video and surrounding articles, this initiative is targeting areas where the electro infrastructure is not in place to support widespread computer and Internet use. As Teemu puts it:
According to the International Telecommunication Union in 2004 the Internet penetration on the planet was 13%. The mobile phone penetration in the very same planet was 32%. Internet penetration is growing slowly. The growth in the number of mobile subscribers does not show any signs of slowing down. (ITU report: What’s the state of ICT access around the world?)
This is such a great idea! I mean, I get really inspired by this. Just like MIT’s $100 laptops, I look at projects like this and think wow! If they can do that there, we should be able to do that here. We have heaps of people in our so called wealthier nations who can’t afford a computer and Internet, but many who make the choice to carry a mobile phone instead… not to mention people in occupations were having a computer on the job to access information just isn’t feasable. Trades people and other manual, outdoors types…