Friday, January 26, 2007


One Laptop Per Child

So while at Mashup Camp, we attended a presentation at the MIT Museum on the One Laptop Per Child program. We showed up a little late, but it was quite interesting. Here's the website for the program The idea is to provide affordable ($100) laptops for children in developing nations and the idea was born at MIT.

The presentation was given by Walter Bender. He had a few demo machines. The device was much smaller then i expected. The design seems to be very, very sturdy and weather-proof. It's based on some form of linux with XWindows. It has wireless capabilities and no standard hard drive that can crash (this thing is designed not to fail and the hard drive is one of the computer most common point of failure). Walter talked about using wireless in places where wireless is not common. It's done by creating a mesh of wireless hubs, each laptop connecting every other laptop create a wireless network where one doesn't exist.

There was question and answer session where alot of thoughts and concerns where brought up:
1) Will a black market for the devices be created and how to prevent
2) What kind of training will there be
3) Does this kind of project hurt US workers
4) Can we create a similar project for students here in our country
5) What pressure have we seen from parties such as laptop builders to stop this

The program has created a limited number of laptops at this point. The last batch was 2500 so they have not scaled the operation yet.

It sounds like a solid program that could bring the world that much closer.


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