Friday, February 04, 2005

The GodPod

As I noted in the previous post, there are 6,913 languages in the world. Only 2,300 people groups have as much as one book of the Bible translated and available. Add to that these statistics:

3 billion people—nearly half the world’s population—are functionally illiterate. 42 million people are blind.

That’s why it’s particularly intriguing to hear about the MegaVoice Digital players—which have been dubbed by the press as the GodPod—produced by the British company MegaVoice. Their low-cost digital MP3 player is powered by solar energy, costs about $25, and contains both the Old and the New Testament. Because it’s solar-powered, it can be used for up to 6,000 hours.

Brad Turkington of MegaVoice says that Bible societies in Ireland and the Middle East are already ordering them by the thousands. “We have been very successful in Arabic countries, where some mission organisations have been able to get it into Libya and into Egypt,” Turkington told the BBC.

How does it work?

MegaVoice has digitized speech compression that will allow up 160 hours of information, according to memory size. Different models are equipped to carry a range of messages from short and direct up to the entire Bible or other lengthy books on one microchip. Moreover, the digitized message specified by the donor agency is secure: it cannot be erased or changed without a MegaVoice programmer.

MegaVoice players have the sound quality to reproduce spoken text in any language with the possibility of supporting high-production musical accompaniment and sound effects. The simple scrolling feature, with easily understood symbols, can be used by anyone, anywhere.

Compact and discreet, all players fit in the palm of the hand for personal listening and operate on their own internal power supply. Some models have a phone jack that will receive a self-powered, external speaker for amazingly clear amplification, or earphones can be used for private listening. These exceptionally high-quality players are available at a fraction of the cost of other digital units in today's audio market.

MegaVoice is a company that continues to be committed to the charge that all people be able to hear and understand the Word of God and other life-giving messages in their own language.

If any churches are interested in helping to fund the project, the company is working with a foundation to receive tax-deductible gifts.