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paineinthearse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 12:30 AM
Original message
The MIT Media Lab $100 Laptop
Edited on Fri Sep-30-05 12:33 AM by paineinthearse
Mods - this is a press release, not subject to 4-paragraph rule.

http://laptop.media.mit.edu



The MIT Media Lab has launched a new research initiative to develop a $100 laptopa technology that could revolutionize how we educate the world's children. To achieve this goal, a new, non-profit association, One Laptop per Child (OLPC), has been created. The initiative was first announced by Nicholas Negroponte, Lab chairman and co-founder, at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland in January 2005.

Here Negroponte answers questions on the initiative.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What is the $100 Laptop, really?
The proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, full-color, full-screen laptop that will use innovative power (including wind-up) and will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data. These rugged laptops will be WiFi- and cell phone-enabled, and have USB ports galore. Its current specifications are: 500MHz, 1GB, 1 Megapixel.

Why do children in developing nations need laptops?
Laptops are both a window and a tool: a window into the world and a tool with which to think. They are a wonderful way for all children to "learn learning" through independent interaction and exploration.

Why not a desktop computer, oreven bettera recycled desktop machine?
Desktops are cheaper, but mobility is important, especially with regard to taking the computer home at night. Kids in the developing world need the newest technology, especially really rugged hardware and innovative software. Recent work with schools in Maine has shown the huge value of using a laptop across all of one's studies, as well as for play. Bringing the laptop home engages the family. In one Cambodian village where we have been working, there is no electricity, thus the laptop is, among other things, the brightest light source in the home.

Finally, regarding recyled machines: if we estimate 100 million available used desktops, and each one requires only one hour of human attention to refurbish, reload, and handle, that is forty-five thousand work years. Thus, while we definitely encourage the recycling of used computers, it is not the solution for One Laptop per Child.

How is it possible to get the cost so low?

First, by dramatically lowering the cost of the display. The first-generation machine may use a novel, dual-mode LCD display commonly found in inexpensive DVD players, but that can also be used in black and white, in bright sunlight, and at four times the normal resolutionall at a cost of approximately $35.
Second, we will get the fat out of the systems. Today's laptops have become obese. Two-thirds of their software is used to manage the other third, which mostly does the same functions nine different ways.
Third, we will market the laptops in very large numbers (millions), directly to ministries of education, which can distribute them like textbooks.
Why is it important for each child to have a computer? What's wrong with community-access centers?
One does not think of community pencilskids have their own. They are tools to think with, sufficiently inexpensive to be used for work and play, drawing, writing, and mathematics. A computer can be the same, but far more powerful. Furthermore, there are many reasons it is important for a child to "own" somethinglike a football, doll, or booknot the least of which being that these belongings will be well-maintained through love and care.

What about connectivity? Aren't telecommunications services expensive in the developing world?
When these machines pop out of the box, they will make a mesh network of their own, peer-to-peer. This is something initially developed at MIT and the Media Lab. We are also exploring ways to connect them to the backbone of the Internet at very low cost.

What can a $1000 laptop do that the $100 version can't?
Not much. The plan is for the $100 Laptop to do almost everything. What it will not do is store a massive amount of data.

How will these be marketed?
The idea is to distribute the machines through those ministries of education willing to adopt a policy of "One Laptop per Child." Initial discussions have been held with China, Brazil, Thailand, and Egypt. Additional countries will be selected for beta testing. Initial orders will be limited to a minimum of one million units (with appropriate financing).

When do you anticipate these laptops reaching the market? What do you see as the biggest hurdles?
Our preliminary schedule is to have units ready for shipment by the end of 2006 or early 2007.

The biggest hurdle will be manufacturing 100 million of anything. This is not just a supply-chain problem, but also a design problem. The scale is daunting, but I find myself amazed at what some companies are proposing to us. It feels as though at least half the problems are being solved by mere resolve.

How will this initiative be structured?
The three principals at MIT are faculty members at the Media Lab: Nicholas Negroponte (a founder of the Lab), Joe Jacobson (serial entrepreneur, co-founder and director of E Ink), and Seymour Papert (one of the world's leading theorists on child learning).

Additional researchers include: Mike Bove, Mary Lou Jepsen, Alan Kay, Tod Machover, Mitchel Resnick, and Ted Selker.

Organizationally, MIT will work with a small number of companies of complementary skills to develop a fully working and manufactured laptop (50,000 to 100,000 units) in fewer than 12 months, with an eye on building about 100 million to 200 million units by the following year. Five initial companies who have committed to this project are AMD, Brightstar, Google, News Corporation, and Red Hat. MIT will also work with the not-for-profit company One Laptop per Child (OLPC), as well as with the 2B1 Foundation.

images: http://laptop.media.mit.edu/laptop-images.html
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 01:29 AM
Response to Original message
1. I don't like this at all. nt
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