VIU Team Launches Kickstarter Campaign for New Technology

A Kickstarter campaign launching August 21 will help fund a project in Kenya testing new technology that will offer web pages without Internet access to people throughout the world. Computing Science grads Pauline Hagembe (l) and Alican Kerman have been working with Professor Frank LoPinto to develop “PXIT” code technology.

August 19, 2014 - 3:45pm

A Kickstarter campaign that launched August 27  will help test new technology developed by a Vancouver Island University (VIU) Computing Science professor and two 2014 graduates that will help spread Internet information to the many areas of the world where web connections don’t exist.

VIU professor, Dr. Frank LoPinto, and recent Computing Science graduates Pauline Hagembe and Alican Kerman are working on new technology that could bring web pages to the world’s smartphones, without the need for a connection to the Internet.

The VIU tech team hope to raise $12,000 to cover the costs involved in testing the new technology in Hagembe’s home country, Kenya.

LoPinto’s company, Pixelstream Communications, has developed “PXIT” technology, which can display digital information on video display devices ranging from smartphones to televisions to video monitors without the need for a web connection. The team has developed a free Android-based smartphone app that allows the phone to read a pixelated code, which looks like a large, moving QR code, store the information, and play it back at any time.

LoPinto has called PXIT codes “QR codes on steroids,” as they go far beyond a scan that simply links the user to a web page. PXIT codes can transfer images, sound and other data without Internet connectivity – lacking for about two-thirds of the world’s population.

“We’ve designed this app not to work on the latest versions but on the early versions of smartphones,” LoPinto says. “We’re not requiring the latest and the greatest for this to work.”

Possibilities for the use of technology are endless, he says, but are of particular importance to the developing world for disseminating education, health, and other critical information.

Hagembe says her interest in the project grew when she realized the potential it held for people in developing nations like her own home country, Kenya.

“My vision for this technology is mainly focused on education,” she says. “I see this being used, for example with TVs at home, where we make smartphones available to each homestead, and in the evening broadcast what the children will be learning the next day.”

LoPinto says he is keen to get the support of local television broadcasters in the areas where the technology will be tested and eventually used. With donated or low cost broadcast time on a Kenyan television station, for example, the technology could be spread widely to areas with no Internet access.

Hagembe points to one example of PXIT codes’ use in Africa that is in the news today.

“With the Ebola outbreak, which has led to the deaths of so many people, there is an informational gap,” she says. “As an example, with everything set up as we hope it is, what I see is getting this health information out there quickly, and saving lives.”

With a successful Kickstarter campaign concluding after 30 days, LoPinto expects to have one of his team head to Kenya later this year to test the technology and learn more about the possibilities it holds.


For more information on the Kickstarter campaign, see:

Media Contact

Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P:250.740.6443  C: 250.618.1535 E: T: @viunews

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