A case for custom silicon in enabling low-cost information technology for developing regions

Z. Foo, D. Devecsery, T. Schmid, N. Clark, R. Frank, M. Ghaed, Y. Kuo, I. Lee, Y. Park, Z. Renner, N. Slottow, V. Vinay, M. Wieckowski, D. Yoon, C. Schmidt, D. Blaauw, P. Chen, P. Dutta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Information and communications technology has the potential for deep social impact in developing regions but today's typical ICT devices - laptops, mobile phones, and similar devices - are often still too expensive for many scenarios. In this paper, we argue that custom integrated circuits can enable a new tier of low-cost information access devices with a price point that will make them widely accessible. And, with control over the silicon, these systems can economically address many other challenges. To evaluate our claim, we focus on a deceptively simple problem - low-cost information access for illiterate populations through audio recordings - and show how custom silicon allows us to reduce cost, lower power, leverage conventional infrastructure in unconventional ways, and optimize the interface for usability. In particular, we show how a rural audio computer can be designed around just three chips, use an inexpensive capacitive touch interface, employ inductive communications for peer-to-peer data transfer, and employ content download over GSM voice and FM broadcast as two wide area options. The resulting design point - enabled by aggressive silicon integration - affords a device that can be built for $7.77, a third of the cost achievable using commercial off-the-shelf components.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 1st ACM Symposium on Computing for Development, DEV 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event1st ACM Symposium on Computing for Development, DEV 2010 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 2010 Dec 172010 Dec 18

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 1st ACM Symposium on Computing for Development, DEV 2010

Conference

Conference1st ACM Symposium on Computing for Development, DEV 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period10/12/1710/12/18

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications

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