CGT students’ design to be tested in India
Written by TechPurdue // June 12, 2012 // Admitted Students, Alumni & Friends, Business & Industry, Computer Graphics Technology, Current Students, Faculty & Staff, Latest College News, Prospective Students // 1 Comment
Photo: The Open Portal kiosk team members from left to right: Uttaran Dutta, Becca Bogusz, Laura West, Eric Kaiser, Jenny Maxwell.
Students in Computer Graphics Technology have designed an Internet-capable kiosk called OpenPortal that will be tested in rural India this summer. These four students were able to use their experiences in solar technology, graphics design and computer programing to bring this product from concept to a testable prototype.
Rebecca Bogusz, Eric Kaiser, Jenny Maxwell and Laura West worked with their sponsor and culture consultant, Uttaran Dutta, to design this kiosk during the spring semester of 2012. OpenPortal is a picture-based, solar-powered computer kiosk that will help bring Internet access and important information regarding news and agriculture to underdeveloped areas in India.
“[OpenPortal] really helped me use what I learned in class in a more practical sense,” said Maxwell. “It wasn’t just an assignment–we are making something that will help real people.”
The purpose of this project is to provide access to technology and new information to areas in rural India without electricity.
“The kiosk will cater to the information needs of low-income, low-literate (and illiterate) communities of rural India,” said Uttaran Dutta, a doctoral candidate in the Brian Lamb School of Communication.
Since some of these low-literate communities may be unfamiliar with technology, a touch screen with a picture and audio-based navigation system was produced. The information provided includes educational, trade, business and agricultural information, as well as news and weather. Knowledge sharing and cultural exchange opportunities are also being incorporated.
The hardware used in this kiosk is fairly inexpensive, about $700, compared to existing kiosks worth $5,000-$10,000. OpenPortal consists of a touch-screen capable Netbook, USB modem, solar panels, and protective casings.
Dutta received a Purdue Research Foundation Summer Research Grant to conduct research on the successes and shortcomings of OpenPortal in villages in India during the summer of 2012. He hopes to use this research to refine and improve the kiosk in the 2012-2013 school year.
“[OpenPortal] gave us insight in how to manage a project from start to finish in a real-world setting when multiple challenges arise along the way,” said Bogusz about the experience.
If you would like more information on OpenPortal, please visit www.openportal411.com.