‘Smart’ solution for those less priviledged

Student Anurag Shah aims to provide digital education to students with his low cost computer

By Author   |   Published: 17th Sep 2017   12:04 am Updated: 17th Sep 2017   12:39 am
The 16-year-old Anurag Shah with the children.

In an age of technology, every child owns a gadget and hardly comes out of his/her room or does any kind of physical activity. On the other hand, there are families who can’t even afford a single computer. For such underprivileged students Anurag Shah has created a computer which costs less than Rs 10,000.

While NGOs provide basic necessities such as food, water, very few are able to provide access to technology to such children. It was this shortcoming that 16-year-old Anurag wanted to fix.

He wants every child in the country to use technology as a resource. In the first step towards that goal, he started with rural villages and installed computers in four tribal hostels with the help of volunteer-based Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram.

“Two years ago, when I was visiting my native village, I started using my laptop out of boredom. The children there had never seen a computer before and surrounded me. So explained the uses of computer and how it works. That’s when I realised that everyone doesn’t have access to technology,” recalls Anurag who came up with the idea of creating low cost computers. During his research, he came to know that the government funds projects such as his and began to work on his proposal.

“My uncle had gifted the single board computer Rasberry Pi to me which was a perfect setup to create these computers,” says Anurag. The Raspberry Pi3 model B runs on the Linux operating system and assembling it is simple. The Pi has USB ports, RAM, HDMI ports with integrated wireless LAN, Bluetooth and energy-efficient hardware. The four USB ports can be used to connect wireless keyboard and mouse. An HDMI port is also included so you can connect it to a monitor. The entire computer setup costs Rs 9000 and Anurag also provides an e-learning module in the local language for students to understand it better. “The model requires 1 Amps of power and has a 1.2GHz 4-core CPU which is enough to perform light tasks,” explains Anurag who smiles recalling the response of the children in his hometown. “The joyous expression on their faces when I installed the computers in their school is something I will always remember.” He now plans to install computers in 18 tribal hostels which are home to 1200 students this year. He is also working on an app as part of an internship with Neobric that helps residents of society post complaints.

Anurag looks on as students use the low cost computer installed
by him.

Zest to learn

Anurag’s love for assembling things began from an early age. As a child, he loved playing with Lego bricks that helped develop his planning skills as well as lateral thinking. An avid reader, it was his ability to finish 1000 page books that led him to his second love – computers.

Among the top nine students in the country who excelled in a Google coding challenge ‘Code To Learning’, he doesn’t like to waste even a single minute of his time. Not one for physical activity, he says, “Why do you want to drain your body when in 20 years, you are going to have nanopods that basically do an entire workout for you? Do whatever you want to do now since later everything is going to digitalised. Use the time in training your mind,” says the Fiitjee student whose long term goal is to take his computers to other states with the help of NGOs and government organisations.