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SMILE Plug brings a 60-person Wi-Fi cloud to classrooms in developing nations

SMILE Plug brings a 60-person Wi-Fi cloud to classrooms in developing nations


Marvell and Stanford University revealed the SMILE Plug today, which creates a 60-person Wi-Fi cloud for classroom use. It lets teacher's easily monitor student's progress, and it's designed for developing nations and for use with the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) XO 3.0 tablet that was announced yesterday.

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If you were wondering how children in developing nations using the new OLPC XO 3.0 tablet would be able to communicate with each other on their devices, you'll be glad to know we found the answer: the SMILE Plug. While it looks like a router, it's actually a mini server that creates a private Wi-Fi cloud for 60 people. It's designed for use in classrooms that participate in Stanford University's Mobile Inquiry Based Learning Environment (SMILE's namesake), which is an interactive classroom system in which students create homework assignments and compete with their peers to complete them. Thanks to the SMILE Plug, teachers will be able to easily oversee their student's activity with real-time analytics when using Stanford's system.

While we're not quite sure what specific tools will be provided, we do know that an open source API and Stanford's SMILE software development kit will be available for the device. We also know a bit about the hardware: it'll have a built-in 5V backup battery so it can continue to run when the power goes out, as well as two Ethernet and two USB ports, Wi-Fi, and an SD card slot. We'll have more for you once we spend some time with the SMILE Plug (and that adorable status light on the top!) at CES this week.