‘Virtual PC’ to be launched at University open day

Visitors to a university open day are to be given a ‘virtual PC’ to take home.

The first 700 students to visit visitors to Birmingham City University’s Open Day at the Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment (TEE) will receive a USB device which they can plug into any computer to receive access to free software and the Internet.

The device, called cnap&go, was developed through collaboration between the University, ECONET the leading Telecommunications company in Africa, and cloud technology company Cnasoft. The USB key, which is just a few inches long, can be used with PCs, laptops, tablet computers and even some mobile phones to provide access to software, the Internet and an individual’s computer documents.

Due to its small size and mobility, the device is being piloted in African villages to provide access to software without the need for expensive and bulky hardware, which may quickly become obsolete. For developing countries where there is limited access to email, a PC or even a mobile phone, the cnap&go technology provides a ‘virtual PC’.

Dr Peter Rayson, Associate Dean of the University’s Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment, said: “The Cnap&go device takes virtually no time to download and stream large apps on to basic laptops - this is why this technology has an obvious application in remote African villages.

“However, even here in the UK there are inner city areas that are digitally excluded; this class of technology allows young people and families to have their own virtual PC on a USB key. You could argue that we are closing the digital divide for pennies not pounds.”

“Our School of Computing, Telecommunications and Networks has an active research and development programme with Cnasoft, which includes a number of University research students. Our engagement with business is typical of the experience that undergraduates can expect when they study at University’s Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment".

The Faculty’s Open Day takes place on Saturday 18 June, 10am until 4pm at the University’s Millennium Pointcampus in the city centre. For more information about Birmingham City University’s Open Days at its other campuses visit the University website at

Following on from the Open Day will be Birmingham Techfest, which is a festival to highlight the wealth of technical innovation, knowledge and skills from across the West Midlands region. Taking place at the University’s city centre campus on Saturday 25 June it will also incorporate the UK Micromouse Championship which has been hosted by the University for the past eight years.

Birmingham City University is backing a national campaign celebrating the benefit of higher education.Universities Week is taking place from June 13th to 19th and will highlight how universities benefit everyone, whether or not they have gone to university themselves.