You’ve no doubt seen the $100 laptop before, in its various prototypes and all over the news. It’s been both criticized and hailed as some of the best socially-conscious design ever, but regardless of your stance, it’s worth acknowledging as a feat of both design for the greater good and energy efficiency. The XO computer designed for the One Laptop Per Child program, hopes to bring technology, education, and interactive experiences to children worldwide. They’ve distributed tens of thousands, and last fall did a Buy One Give One program that brought the laptops to retail customers and developing markets alike. And while they haven’t quite hit the $100 price point yet, the devices is cute as a button, and uses only 10% of the energy of regular laptops, thanks to Mary Lou Jepsen’s technological genius, combined with green energy elements like a hand crank.
photos courtesy of FuseProject
The OLPC initiative began as a non-profit organization, spearheaded by Nicholas Negroponte of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It has received support far and wide from the United Nations Development Programme and technical support from everyone from Google, Skype, and Linux RedHat.
After multiple rounds of prototyping and design consulting, FuseProject finalized the design as a compact, highly-functional, and engaging device that is supremely kid-friendly. From its Wi-Fi antenna “rabbit ears” and energy-efficient LCD to the digital writing tablet and integrated video camera, OLPC enables networking capabilities that allow children to connect to each other, their school, their teacher, and the Web. One of the most cutting edge developments is the power source- from rechargeable batteries to hand cranks, and eventually solar energy.
We think that despite some questions and recent technological holdups, the One Laptop Per Child program is a wonderful thing, and a brave step in the right direction.