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$100 Laptop Demo Video


By steve - Posted on 22 December 2005

I've been following Nicholas Negroponte's, et al, $100 laptop project since he announced it in the spring of 2005. The project really started taking shape this fall 2005. The idea is to get a laptop in the hands of every child in the world and do it for $100. I think the idea is pretty cool, even if the "benefits" might appear to be a little esoteric. The technology isn't radical, but the concepts and partnerships are. The best demo I've found of the thing, in it's current "pre-protoype" stage, is at www.andycarvin.com.

Here's a pretty good summary of the OLPC organization: "One Laptop per Child (OLPC) is a Delaware-based, non-profit organization created by Nicholas Negroponte and other faculty members from the MIT Media Lab to design, manufacture, and distribute laptops that are sufficiently inexpensive to provide every child in the world access to knowledge and modern forms of education. The laptops will be sold to governments and issued to children by schools on a basis of one laptop per child. These machines will be rugged, Linux-based, and so energy efficient that hand-cranking alone can generate sufficient power for operation. Mesh networking will give many machines Internet access from one connection. The pricing goal will start near $100 and then steadily decrease. The corporate members are Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Brightstar, Google, News Corporation, Nortel, and Red Hat."

Expected benefits of one-laptop-per-child:

  • Free text books (all text books will be digital, not atoms)
  • Expanded communications/access (all of the laptops are networked)
  • Expanded creativity (programming, software development, hacking, writing, drawing...)

Here are my predictions:

  • The first run will actually cost $200, not $100
  • The first run will be 12 months late (late 2007, not late 2006)
  • A commerical version will be developed and released successfully and it will help fund expansion of the education part of the project
  • It will be an astoundingly successful open source hardware project
  • It will get hacked
  • The processes and technology will be incorporated into related and unrelated commerical products, much like the NASA space program spun off consumer friendly technology
  • The project will be declared a success

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