17 October 2005

Philips field testing in the favelas of Brazil

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Voices_hand
Voices in Your Hand is a humanitarian project, sponsored by Philips Electronics, to create a simple, voice-email handset and cheap audio services to help urban shantytowns and isolated rural areas in the developing world, overcoming illiteracy or minority languages.

The project is now in a field testing phase in the favela of Recife, Brazil, and testing results have taken them in a direction they did not initially anticipate. It appears that real-time connectivity is not the biggest issue, so devices which are essentially modified mp3 players you occasionally connect to the web in telecenters to send and receive voice and text messages are good enough (and much cheaper than cell
phones).

Further reporting by WorldChanging, Paul Rankin (a Philips Research fellow) and by Philips itself.

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