Solar Spell build day

Volunteers help SolarSPELL get back in action

By

Deanna Dent

Volunteers from the Phoenix Peace Corps Association and the Arizona State University community came together April 3 to build dozens of portable, digital SolarSPELL libraries. The small devices are powered by a solar panel connected to a rechargeable battery and a tiny computer built by Raspberry Pi. The small containers cast a Wi-Fi signal that allows any user to connect a smartphone, tablet or computer in areas with no telecommunciation infrastructure, and the libraries are loaded with relevant, localized educational information.

The batch of devices assembled and tested at the Polytechnic campus — the first build day since the pandemic began — are destined for an Ethiopian refugee community; future build days will focus on building the libraries for Peace Corps partnerships so serving Peace Corps volunteers can carry them to communities worldwide and further their work.  

SolarSPELL, which is short for Solar Powered Educational Learning Library, is a student-centered initiative hosted at ASU and is working in partnership to create these small Wi-Fi libraries that can be utilized in remote areas that may be without reliable power sources. Learn more about how it's transforming global education.