$20 Linux PC makes its debut

A revolutionary Linux-based computer could see users in developing nations gets their hands on a device with the capacity to store the entire contents of Wikipedia - all for as little as $20.

The prototype device made its debut at the San Gabriel Valley Linux Users Group, writes open-source news site Linux Journal. Its creator, Braddock Gaskill, says his aim was to create an "extendable, hackable" 8-bit general computing platform that could be displayed on televisions.

The Humane Reader can be used as an e-book reader, and comes with a 2GB SD card that can store around 5,000 e-books or the entire contents of Wikipedia - an ideal low-cost resource for homes and schools without internet connections.

The device can be connected to NTSC or PAL television sets with component video inputs. It comes with the option of keyboard input, but can be operated using a built-in four-button directional controller to select letters from an on-screen menu. The device is powered using a standard micro-USB mobile phone charger.

In addition to the Humane Reader, Gaskell is also developing the Humane PC, which incorporates an 8-bit microcomputer. Both devices use open-source Arduino software.

For more information, and to see a video of the Humane Reader in action, visit the Humane Informatics website.