From time to time, and although it seems strange, you find projects on the Internet that are very worthwhile. In this case, it is a all-in-one computer, in the form of a “typewriter”, a Raspberry inside and a projector instead of a monitor. In addition, it tries to solve a serious problem in the education of children in India. And, as if that were not enough, it has a flavor of other times that we fans love. retro and the technological.
With the arrival of the pandemic, children’s education had to take a 180-degree turn. It soon became clear that many of them could not access computers properly, or connections fast enough to follow the distance education that was imposed.
That has been especially serious in countries like India, where many children from poorer homes have seen their education interrupted. On many occasions, there were no computers, or they had to share a mobile among several, making it almost impossible for them to follow the classes.
An all-in-one computer to solve education in India
For all of the above, Subir Bhaduri, a regular user of the web Hackaday, with various projects such as maker, has created the “Pπ”, derived from Projector Pi (yes, it would be pronounced Pee, let’s get the joke out of the way) , a computer shaped like a typewriter retro, powered by a Raspberry 4B and that solves the screen problem in a very ingenious way.
Uses a projector.
That allows several things. First, replace the need for a much more expensive monitor, in addition to projecting the screen on a suitable surface, in large format, several children can see what happens and follow the classes. In this way, with a single device, several kids can continue their education at a distance or in person.
The objectives of the «Pπ» project
Bhaduri’s goals with the project, as he describes them, would be:
- Low cost, essential to be able to be massively adopted in schools, regardless of the budget.
- Rugged and portable. Which he achieves with a metal typewriter design, with a handle and everything to carry it, just like in the old days.
- Can have multiple users at the same time thanks to the projector, without compromising cost.
- Let it be a full computer. Well, in the end, a mobile or a tablets it’s not a substitute for many necessary tasks, like a bit of graphic design or comfortable word processing.
- With open source design. So that the production and repair is transparent and can be used by anyone who wants to do something similar.
Of course, Bhaduri himself admits that there are still challenges to overcome, such as finding a more suitable projector than the initial prototype, or some things related to the functioning of the Raspberry 4B that it carries inside.
For now, there is three of those prototypes built, which are being used on a test basis at a local school in the Indian city of Pune.
We’ll see how it turns out, but it’s one of those things that we’re looking forward to because it’s great. And for those retrofuturists like me, it seems all a cyber deck straight out of a William Gibson novel and I have a certain desire to have it.