The development of a multimedia reader for distance learning
The goal of this project was to produce a device which can provide distance learning students with a method of learning by means of enriched study material. This device must be able to display study material in the form of text, pictures/graphs, sound and video. It should also be low-cost, and therefore low technology. Study material will be sent to students by mail, on CD-ROM or DVD. The costs connected with this, is very little with respect to the amount of study material that is transferred. All material can be incorporated in the standard webpage format, HTML. A final version of the device, met all specifications. The software was manipulated to fit on a 512Mb CF2 card, leaving 140Mb space for user files. Linux was used to cut the total cost of the device, while still producing a fully functional system. Linux was then also used to speed the device up. Some problems were encountered with device drivers, but then the hardware was not functional under Windows either. These problems were solved by replacing the hardware. This final system manages to display today's graphics with yesterday's hardware speed. The Linux system is fully optimized to use MMX and SSE functions (native to the final processor) which speeds the hardware up more than enough to meet all set specifications. The use of Linux in this project brought the price down by roughly 25%. Further price cuts may be done by developing our o m custom SBC (Single Board Computer) for use in this project. Developing our o m SBC will cut the cost by excluding unused features such as network hardware.
- Engineering