Lifeline Energy, a London based organization that works primarily in Africa on “reducing energy poverty” for the poorest, partners with local aid groups to design renewable products which can best impact the lives of the poor. To this end it introduced recently the innovative Lifeplayer, described as a MP3-enabled radio for the developing world.
The Lifeplayer is capable of running without need for connection to an electricity source or batteries, as it is fully powered by solar energy or a hand crank as a secondary energy source. It is designed for the humanitarian sector only, and can be pre-loaded with up to 64 GB of educational content. One can update, according to Lifeline Energy, this programming with a microSD card, including downloaded audio Internet content; can play downloaded cellular content sent across 3G networks; and can record live voice onto the device that can later be uploaded to the Internet.
Lifeline Energy said the Lifeplayer is robust enough to operate in a variety of climates or conditions. It has a powerful sound system that lets groups of up to 60 hear it easily. Its wireless solar panel can charge a cell phone through a USB lead. It also has AM/FM/SW bands, allowing for local and international radio access in places where that may very well be the only way to deliver fresh news and information.
SC Johnson will be the first organisation to use the Lifeplayer, in an educational outreach program for pyrethrum farmers in Rwanda so that it can offer “increased access to agronomic best practices, market information and health news.” The player has been endorsed by a number of celebrities who support the Lifeline Energy group, including its “American Ambassador” and actor Tom Hanks.
“Here’s a vision of lives being improved through simple, yet ingenious technology: a teacher uses the Lifeplayer’s MP3 function to pause, re-wind and replay a lesson until it is clearly understood by all students,” said Hanks in a statement. “Later that day, local elders use the same Lifeplayer to record in their own voices a chapter of their village’s oral history. Then the lesson and the elders’ oral traditions are downloaded and broadcast on the community radio station. That is the goal of Lifeline Energy’s mission: to get energy technologies into the hands of those who need them, who will use them in creative ways that we can’t even imagine.”