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Lantern brings info to those without internet access

Two-thirds of the world’s population still don’t have internet access. Thankfully, this device can bring info to the parts the internet can’t reach.

It’s called Lantern, and it’s the brainchild of Outernet, a start-up that wants to use satellites to broadcast information to everyone on the planet. It continuously receives radio waves broadcast by Outernet from space, and turns them into digital files like webpages, ebooks, videos and music. You can store any of these on Lantern’s internal drive.

To access these files, turn on Lantern’s Wi-Fi hotspot and connect to it using a mobile, tablet or laptop (or anything with Wi-Fi). Open the browser, and you can access the files as if you were browsing the web.

Not only does this bring information to people who don’t have access to the internet, it also bypasses any censorship imposed by governments or other bodies.

Lantern also has a microUSB port, microSD card slot, and USB port for hooking up other devices.

It’s completely free to use, and will stay so forever, according to its makers.

It’s still a prototype, but the final version will be about the size of a large torch, and able to stream up to 100MB of data a day. If there’s no plug socket nearby, you can charge it up in the sun using its solar panels.

So how do you decide what you can access from Outernet? You can suggest content using the Whiteboard. At present it’s mostly worthy and interesting stuff like TED Talks and Reddit, though someone has also posted a link to a porn site. Some will be sponsored content too, so you will have to put up with what are effectively adverts.

Still, it could help the spread of information, and that can only be a good thing. Find out more on its Indiegogo page.

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