Some of you may remember the project to bring spoken (synthesized
speech) Wikipedia content to mobile phones. Teemu Leinonen of the
University of Art and Design Helsinki, who is leading the project, has
informed me: "We already have the phone system to receive the SMS, to
do the calls back, TTP and system to record callers contributions."
The project now also has a website at:
They want to run a school pilot in South Africa soon. This is a very
important project as it can bring Wikipedia content to nations with
insufficient Internet access but reasonable cell phone coverage, which
includes some developing countries. Given that the system operates by
providing a free callback after you send an SMS requesting an article,
it provides almost completely free access to the content.
As noted above, the project is envisioned to allow people to
contribute in their native language, so at some point we'll have to
talk to Teemu's team about dealing with call-in contributions on the
level of our project communities.
The website has a couple of (slightly campy) demonstration videos.
Browsing around, it seems that they are using Asterisk and a
nifty-looking open source tool called "Dialog Palette" to develop the
Thank you for your email. I am happy to announce that the Special Projects
committee has taken responsibility for the MobilEd effort and that Jean
Baptiste Soufron will chair our first subcommittee, which will be handling this. I
thank everyone who has participated in this so far, and urge them to provide
Soufron with all the information and support necessary to make this an
outstanding example of collaboration between the Wikimedia Foundation and the other
participants in this exciting project.