An outfit which wants to bring e-readers to the poor has built one for just $20.
The Humane Reader, which can be seen here, is designed to provide low-cost computing solutions to places without internet access.
It basically stores the books so they can be read on a TV screen.The beast is made using eight bit technology to keep costs down, and instead of a monitor, it just needs a TV with a composite input to display information.
It has a 2GB SD card, and it has a USB and a PS/2 port. You will still need to get your paws on a keyboard too. Still if people buy it, they will get access to 500 books which could solve many problems about the distribution of information.
The outfit said that televisions are far more common in the developing countries than computers or internet connections.
The Humane Reader has been developed from the ground up with cost in mind. The basic unit can be produced for less than $20 in mass quantities.
So for less than the cost of a single textbook the Reader can provide the equivalent of a five thousand book library. Wikipedia is the first content provided for use with the Humane Reader.
A single memory card can hold most if not all of Wikipedia text in a variety of languages. The device provides search capabilities, and can be connected to an optional keyboard for more fluid text input.