The World’s First Solar-Powered Audio Bible

Listen to ‘The World’s First Solar-Powered Audio Bible’

The story of the first solar-powered audio Bible begins back in 1988. A decade before MP3 players made their appearance on the world stage, the little device known as the MegaVoice audio Bible was created. Because two men, and their supportive wives, had the vision and patience to push through many technical and spiritual barriers, they were able to create a unique, world-changing device.

The World’s First Solar-Powered Audio Bible

MegaVoice Audio Bible Visionary
It’s 1988. Tom Treseder, a Bible Society of Australia leader, understands that billions of people are unable to read the Bible for themselves. This could be because they are blind or because they cannot or do not read.

Together with other Gospel audio pioneers of the day, Treseder’s Bible Society team begins to use every tool available in an attempt to make the Scriptures audibly accessible. They frequently pack up the devices and send them to the mission field. The results reported are good. People are able to hear God’s Word in their heart language, many for the very first time. But equipment failures are common.

Field Testing Audio Bibles

Record players. Tape recorders. Cassette tapes – everything they try is failing on the field because of inhospitable climates. Tapes freeze in the northern climates and melt in the tropics. Brand name mechanical machines are reduced to useless junk because of blowing desert sand. In other words, “Every machine we sent out was doomed to fail sooner or later.”

“It was demoralizing,” remembers Treseder. “In addition, using over a dozen cassettes just for the New Testament proved unmanageable.”

These machines were ultimately unreliable because of their delicate moving parts. But technical professionals tell Treseder there is no audio player that doesn’t rely on these “moving parts”.

But Treseder refuses to accept this as an answer.

One day, Treseder is walking by a store window. There is a doll in the display and it is talking! It only says a few words but he is transfixed. Is this the clue they had been praying for? A few days later, he stares in amazement as he hears a Japanese car warning system say, “Put your seat belt on.” This was it! Dolls spoke. Cars spoke. Why not the Bible?

MegaVoice: The World’s First Talking Book

MegaVoice First Audio Bible
Tom Treseder excitedly sits down to draw a pencil sketch of a Bible that spoke (without the need for mechanical cogs and gears). He adds a solar panel. This ensures that, even without access to electricity, people can hear God’s Word spoken to them.

The system that enabled the doll to talk for 10 seconds was not even close to what was needed for a seventy hour Bible recording. And many people told Treseder as much. But then he found Ken Crowell, an expert in electronic technology. Crowell became Treseder’s lifelong ministry partner and friend. Together they would go on to create the world’s first solar audio Bible – the MegaVoice.

The MegaVoice: A Solar-Powered Audio Bible

Today, digital audio players are everywhere. The MegaVoice, however, has certain features not found in commercially available MP3-style audio players.

The slightly raised navigation buttons were an early MegaVoice pioneering breakthrough. These enable blind and visually impaired people to independently operate their MegaVoice. Even amputees and leprosy survivors who may not have the use of their fingers are able to successfully use the MegaVoice.

Treseder and Crowell pioneered the two column navigation system in the 1990s. This is now imitated by many other Christian technology groups. Finally, our audio files are encrypted. In other words, they can’t be tampered with, recorded over, or lost.

The Next Generation of MegaVoice

In the summer of 2017, a whole new generation of the MegaVoice audio Bible is arriving. These will include even more special features such as powerful LED lights, built-in audio recorders, and FM radio access. Thanks to all our ministry partners working across the globe, more people will soon hear God’s Word in their own languages for the first time. The legacy of the Treseders and the Crowells reverberates around the globe as people access God’s Word in over 4,000 languages on over 3 million distributed devices.

1 Comment
  • Julie Hughes
    Posted at 18:12h, 19 January

    Hi Tom, My name is Julie Hughes, (nee Gibbes) and sister to Clive Gibbes to whom we believe you sold 40 Mega Voice Solar Audio Bibles to take with him and Jenny his wife on their recent trip back to Papua Indonesia?
    It was so exciting to read and as he’d asked me to type it out from them I set to straight away while they were having a much needed rest in Tasmania before returning to Ridgecrest Convention Site near Wellington in NSW where they are managers

    Clive kept a day to day Diary whilst away and gave much background to his inland area where he was for some 13 years. As well as other helpful, background to new readers. It was quite gripping how the Lord enabled them to share these Mega Voice Navigators but in one paragraph expressed in indebtedness to you at Bible Society …….. So I rang Bible Society but they said you didn’t work there now for years and the man had no ready contact details.

    Clive had asked me to type it up for him and asked me if I’d mind typing it up for him to which I readily agreed then found it was some 24 pages (Some 48 half pages or 24 Landscape pages.)
    I was privileged and honoured to do this no matter how great the length as my husband and I had preceded Clive and Jenny to Papua (the Irian Jaya back in 1974-82 though worked in an area some 15 mins flight away amongst another tribal speaking group. We had been blessed by a visit from Gospel Recordings as was called then (Ellen Bay) then later Teddy Tular who helped us and Grip winders we purchased to play the cassettes. I read that Paik Yikwa was first to cross trhanslate these Good News from Indoensian to Dani then we had a team that cross translated it later from Dani to Nggem.
    We alsohave been back for a couple of visits and hope to go again in late April early may where a huge new church it to be opened in our own area which is now a big Govt Centre and they have issued invitations to us all in that Evangelical area to come.

    Si I just wanted to thank you Sir for your great contribution to this trip of Clives of which we also gave a $ contibution for some Navigators. They were used even to passengers on a plane where Gibbes were sitting .

    Helen Gemeren (ex Global Recordings)said she knew you years ago but thought you had retired now and didn’t know your were still connected with these things and had no address but I tracked you don on Google when I typed in the Mega Voice information and have just printed out the amazing history written and your photo.
    Just want to add our praise to God and your perseverance using the skills he gave you for this tremendous aid to speading His word to build up and encourage so many Pastors and church leaders, youth and ladies groups. Look forward to meeting you in heaven.
    In His service Julie and Earl Hughes

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