SolarSPELL off-grid wireless hotspots

The SolarSPELL (Solar Powered Educational Learning Library) initiative from Arizona State University (ASU) provides digital libraries which are available via solar-powered, offline technology.

Plastic box with a Raspberry Pi and other peripherals that make up SOLAR Spell

The rugged, portable devices are Raspberry Pi-powered and bring learning opportunities to remote, unconnected places.

How does it work?

ASU’s SolarSPELL is solar-powered and controlled by a Raspberry Pi 3. In August this year, SolarSPELL launched a new charge controller, which they designed themselves, for the solar panels. Their controller connects directly to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO.

The Raspberry Pi provides a digital library, mimicking an online experience by generating its own offline wireless hotspot. Any Wi-Fi-capable device (smartphone, tablet, laptop) can connect to the hotspot and browse the library’s open-access resources.

There are currently over 480 Raspberry Pi-powered SolarSPELL digital libraries in the field, each boasting more than 45,000 resources. These offer localised content across a range of subjects from organisations including TEDx, LEGO, international ministries of education, economy, and health, and even Sesame Street. The team is keen to add to the resource roster, and they invite feedback around what content could be added, removed, or enhanced.

Offline teacher training

As well as the technology itself, SolarSPELL also converted their in-class teacher training to be fully attainable using one of their own hotspots, allowing facilitators working in offline environments to deliver the initiative. Every person on both the learner and the educator side can access everything they need completely offline.

Powered by Raspberry Pi

We’ve recently been pleased to grant SolarSPELL official Powered by Raspberry Pi status. So far, we’ve given this to 162 products. Manufacturers can apply to us for a licence to use our ‘Powered by Raspberry Pi’ logo on Raspberry Pi‑based products and their packaging. The mark indicates to customers that a product is powered by our high‑quality computers and microcontrollers.

Browse our Powered by Raspberry Pi product catalogue to discover some of the vast range of products that use Raspberry Pi technology. My personal favourite are the robots being ridden by rubber duckies.

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