An international group, Davar Partners International, has developed a multipurpose audio player and has selected local electronic contract manufacturing firm, Microtronix, to run the production.
In today’s world there is a vast selection of audio players available, ranging from the low-cost, open-source variety, to top-end, sleek audio devices. But these do not address the audio content needs of those in areas where there is limited access to easy electricity. Davar has developed a multipurpose audio player designed to provide an answer to these needs, as well as issues such as secure content delivery.
The Audibible is a solar-rechargeable, water-resistant audio player in a ruggedised package about the size of a mobile phone, capable of holding hundreds of hours of high-quality audio content. The solidly built, pocket sized player has the solar panel on the back and the controls and speakers on the front of the unit, with brail navigation markings to assist the blind or visually impaired with easy navigation. Its battery is a long-lasting Lithium polymer type. It weighs in at around 100 grams, which makes it easy to store in a shirt pocket. Charging can be done by the sun or with a normal 5 V d.c. input from the mains with an optional charger.
The device boasts a clever way of providing both security and ease of content transfer. The audio content is stored on a Micro SD card which can be removed and inserted into a PC’s memory card reader to change the content. All files on the Micro SD card must be in an encrypted format, which are produced with the supplied software using a user-specific password. The Audibible can hold a vast amount of audio, only limited by the size of the Micro SD memory card in use. With the standard 2 GB micro SD card it can hold up to 200 hours of content, but can currently be upgraded to a 32 GB card.
A group of around 20 people should be able to listen to the Audibible. It is sufficiently loud for small groups and can be used indoors as well as outdoors. Using the 3,5 mm headphone socket, it can also be plugged into external speakers or an amplifier for larger groups.
Microtronix invests in youth skill development
As part of the manufacturing process, Microtronix has introduced an internal trainee programme to assist South African youth who have finished their final school year. The programme aims to afford these trainees with basic skills which will prepare them to enter the workforce. Currently, one of South Africa’s biggest challenges is unemployment, and according to Masiteng statistics, unemployment is highest among those aged 15 to 24 years of age. After completion of the three-year training programme, the trainees may have the opportunity to be appointed in the factory if they have excelled in their specialised area, or enter the industry towards a sustainable future.
In the manufacturing of the Audibible, 30 full-time trainees have been employed. Davar assisted Microtronix by helping these young South African men and women with tuition and training in an electronic manufacturing environment. Both companies hope to increase the number of trainees as more and more Audibibles are produced.