Researchers and students at Makerere University and two other African universities will soon be able to use laboratory equipment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States, without having to leave their campuses.
By accessing MITâ€™s â€˜iLabsâ€™ over the Internet, the staff and students will be able to manipulate laboratory equipment remotely using their computers and conduct experiments which are currently impossible, because of the cost and restricted availability of necessary experiment.
The MIT department of electrical Engineering and Computer Science developed the iLabs concept in 1998. But while the iLabs are freely available to all, some universities in developing countries lack the computers and other resources needed to use them.
The Carnegie Corporation, a foundation aimed at advancing education in developing countries, has now stepped in with $800,000 in funding, to allow students at Makerere University, University of Dar es Salaam and Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria) to access the laboratories.
The project could have an important impact on the education of hundreds of students at the three universities.
â€œNot only will it afford better access by more students to relevant experiments, it certainly will also result in human and infrastructural development in partner African universities,â€ says L. O. Kehinde, coordinator of the iLab project at Obafemi Awolowo University.
Microelectronics and earthquake research are among the subject of the five online experiments currently available.
Working together, the African universities and MIT aim to develop new iLabs.
Internet brings US experiments to Makerere University students