elLoka’s solar powered PC: A viable rural PC project

Many have attempted to provide affordable computing to the masses and have failed. The failure is not in the computing department but it was in the affordability department. The most recent promise, which is not yet a failure, is the $35 tablet from India’s ministry of HRD. While the real tablet hasn’t been seen by anyone, there is news that several units are being field tested and the tablet is very much real.

While we still wait on the $35 tablet or the $75 tablet from BEL for regular consumption, an attractive rural PC project by elLoka could be an answer to bring computing access to rural parts of India. elLoka’s project involves a device called Greco, costs Rs. 6000 (US$130), weighs 100 gms and runs completely on solar power for four hours.

Greco is a self-sufficient device which acts as the computer CPU, where a monitor, keyboard, USB and other computing paraphernalia can be connected. All the devices will be powered by Greco itself which draws its energy from the Sun. Grec0 has four USB ports (for mouse, keyboard and other USB gadgets), an ethernet port to connect to the Internet, microphone and headphone connectors, VGA port for connecting to a monitor, a TV-Out, power supply via a 12 V AC-DC adapter, 1 GB memory with provision for reading SD cards and has 256 MB DDR RAM. What more can we ask for from this little device?

Greco runs its own operating system called Home OS.

There was a similar concept PC by Raspberry Pi, which costs $25 and works on the similar lines. However Raspberry Pi is a slightly less powered and doesn’t have the flexibility of Greco. Between Raspberry Pi and Greco, the latter looks more attractive though the former costs much less. Solar power gives Greco the edge and I’m already sold on it.

Via Penn Olson