Monday, October 03, 2005

Latest on the $100 per child laptop

This is a major initiative of MIT's Media Laboratory, including Nicholas Negroponte and Symore Papert, that should have major implications for UNESCO:

A non-profit association, One Laptop per Child (OLPC), has been created to implememt the initiative launched early this year by the MIT Media Lab. Currently, the proposed $100 machine is to be a Linux-based, full-color, full-screen laptop that will use innovative power (including wind-up), a flash memory, and puts all the components behind the screen. It is to be WiFi- and cell phone-enabled, and have multiple USB ports. The machines current specifications are: 500MHz, 1GB, 1 Megapixel. Currently the estimated price has come down to $130, but apparently the design effort is continuing. Low hardware cost is to be achieved by simplifying systems, using novel display technology, and economies of scale by producing these machines by the million. When the machines pop out of the box, they are to immediately make a mesh network of their own, peer-to-peer, and it is intended also to connect them to the Internet at very low cost. Five initial companies are reported to have committed to this project: AMD, Brightstar, Google, News Corporation, and Red Hat, as well as the 2B1 Foundation. The Economist magazine reports that China, Brazil, Egypt, Thailand and South Africa have said they will buy one million of the machines each, and that the Governer of Massacheusetts said the state would purchase one for every secondary school student when they became available.

Read the article in the Economist (subscription required)

and an Interview with Nicholas Negroponte

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