India's $50 education tablet almost a reality?

The Institute for Sustainable and Applied Infodynamics, a collaboration between Texas' Rice University and Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, announced on Monday that they are getting ready to produce their low-price, low-power tablet for Indian schools.

This is unrelated to the fabled "$35 tablet" that was shown off by India's Human Resource Development Minister, Kapil Sibal last year, but one that Rice University scientist Krishna Palem debuted at roughly the same time called the I-slate.

The final design of the I-slate, and the content embedded on them will be rolled out sometime this fall, and approximately 50 students in Mohd Hussainpalli will work with them in a six-month field trial.

"We know more than 90 percent of what we need to know at this point," Palem said. "We've settled the hardware questions, and that is central to the manner in which the lessons are taught and the manner in which the students interact with the I-slate."

A revision to the design in 2012 will equip the slates with a low-power chip that Palem himself invented, which will be powered by solar panels similar to those found on pocket calculators. When mass-produced, Palem says the solar-powered I-slate will cost less than $50. The first run, however, will use batteries and traditional CPUs.

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