Charles Braymen, Ph.D., Associate Professor
in Heider College of Business, came to the
Radlab with a challenge. In partnership with
him, the Radlab developed the “BlueBox,” a
small plastic box containing a solar powered
Raspberry Pi computer that serves as a WiFi hot spot, a charging station, and resource for open educational resources used in areas of the world where textbooks (and electricity) are not readily
The original version worked, but with some challenges including the need for a car battery and a large solar panel. These issues made it both difficult to transport and to install onsite. Through additional research and multiple iterations, the latest more portable version uses a much smaller battery that can be contained within the box and a small folding solar panel.
Another challenge was that the Raspberry Pi did not “turn off” when not in use and drained the battery. More research along with trial and error attempts solved that issue, too. The educational resources were made available through the nonprofit organization, World Possible. The BlueBox works with phones or tablets and includes the ability to charge those devices.
The result of this project was the design and production of an affordable, portable, and sustainable solution to provide educational resources to children and adults in areas that include the Dominican Republic, Tanzania, and Afghanistan, with plans to expand to more areas.
The BlueBox was highlighted by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International as an “Innovation that Inspires.” Dr. Braymen presented the project at the annual meeting in April, 2019.