Offlinepedia is an initiative led by researchers and students of Yachay Tech University, which seeks to improve access to information for people in rural and suburban areas, through open software and hardware. In several Latin American countries, there is low Internet access, both in rural and marginal urban areas. The lack of access to information sources, such as the World Wide Web and computational resources in general, is reflected in low education levels.

Offlinepedia is a device designed to function as a digital library core, equipped with resources such as the Wikipedia database and the free e-book library of the Gutenberg project, in places where Internet access is not available or is limited. The main objective of this initiative is to overcome the digital divide by “re-materializing” encyclopedic knowledge by transforming Wikipedia and other digital information into a physical device that can be accessed without an internet connection. The device itself consists of a low-cost “open” microcomputer (Raspberry Pi) connected to an analogue TV screen through an RCA connection and incorporating the use of free software (Debian-based operating system and the Wikipedia Kiwix downloader). In this way, the initiative also utilizes discarded TVs that would otherwise become electronic waste. Currently, prototypes are being designed and developed, which will be installed in educational institutions located in rural and suburban communities of Ecuador. For more information about this initiative, visit this link.

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