A low cost MP3 (decoder) device with playback from micro SD card (about 2G, FAT32 file system) with advanced folder navigation by use of 5 buttons (Vol Up, Vol Down, Skip Forward, Skip Back, Play/Pause). The device is aimed at low income people groups that are illiterate.
This will be used to read back material with different parts (3), sections (96), subsections (1500) and paragraphs (40'000). Navigation will start at the root where the user can select between the 3 parts, then select a section, then a subsection and then a paragraph. This allows the user to find any paragraph in the entire book within 4 selections. Only the paragraphs contain audio content while the higher levels (folders) are only there for navigation purposes.
The navigation or file structure is simple. There are 3 folders in the root: Part1, Part2, Part3. Each of these have section sub-folders. 20 in Part1, 40 in Part2 and 36 in Part3. Each of these 96 sub-folders have numerous sub-folders totaling about 1500 subsections. Each of these sub-folders contain the paragraphs recorded in MP3 format. e.g. [url removed, login to view]
While navigating, the only feedback to the user is audio thus when you are in the root and the user skips forward, they will hear: "Part one", "Part two", "Part three" etc. More detail of the audio navigation system will be provided later...
MP3 audio playback at 16 kbps (stereo & mono). This playback rate may have to be increased depending on the audio quality achieved.
SD card access to MP3 audio files (about 2GB, FAT32).
Mini USB connector to connect directly to SD card storage for file transfer to and from Windows.
5 user buttons (Vol Up, Vol Down, Skip Forward, Skip Back, Play/Pause).
Rechargable battery (capacity of 1-2 hour playback) operated 3.6 V nominal.
3.5 mm audio jack
micro SD card slot
The MP3 decoding device can be a dedicated MP3 decoder with audio amplifier included or a micro controller device running a software MP3 player with DAC output to a small audio headset amplifier. All depends on the costing.
Product Cost - this is by far the most difficult task as the cost for a completed product must be less than 5 USD on high volumes (10'000) including the enclosure, rechargeable battery, completed PCB, USB conn, micro SD card slot, buttons, earphones, flexible solar recharge panel and a micro SD card of between 512 MB and 1 GB.
Impossible?!?! NOT... I have purchased a low cost MP3 player with aluminium enclosure, aluminium belt clip, mini-USB cable, headphones without SD card for only $ 4 retail (hard transparent plastic box and instruction leaflet included). That is an in store price! Not a cost price. Thus I would expect the manufacturing sell price to be between 2 and 3 USD and the cost to be in the region of about 2 USD. This excludes a micro SD card.
Why not just buy an existing low cost player? Ans: Low cost players don't have custom navigation of directory structures with a custom audio feedback interface which is essential for this project to be successful. One cannot navigate through 40'000 paragraphs sequentially.
Terms: The design and written code supplied becomes the property of the the project initiator. If software code is used, this must be documented and supplied along with information about building tools such as IDEs etc.
Collaboration: The project initiator will be keenly interested and involved with the project progress and technology/cost decisions to arrive at the best solution for the given product design. More time might be spent on researching low cost technology that could provide the functionality required, while perhaps less time will be spent on the actual implementation. The project initiator will also assist in researching the desired technology to help speed up the initial process and to leave the implementation to the electronic engineer/developer.
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