It might be generous to call the Humane Reader a computer, but the company behind this little device say it could help bring some of the benefits of internet access to the developing world, where most people don’t have computers at all, let alone internet connections.
The concept is pretty simple. The Humane Reader is a small device that can store the equivalent of 5,000 books worth of data. In order to access the information stored on the device, libraries, schools, or households just need to plug in a keyboard and a television set — TVs are much more common in developing nations than computers (although I’m not too sure about Humane’s chart which seems to suggest that less than 25% of people in developed nations have internet subscriptions and less than 60% have TV sets).
All told, the Humane Reader could be sold for about $20 per unit — if the company gets enough orders to mass produce the little guy. There’s also a Humane PC device, which bundles the system with a small LCD TV and a keyboard.