Illustration of laptop prototype. Illustration of laptop prototype for Nigeria. Illustration of laptop prototype with wind-up handle.

More news this time after my posting of 4 December 2006  from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on the details of this scheme which will provide $150 laptops to children in the developing world. A key feature is that “the laptop’s creators started from scratch in designing a user interface they figured would be intuitive for children”, according to a recent Associated Press report. One curious feature is that the user interface does not appear to have been trialled with potential users in developing countries.

The XO machines – as they are called – using a slimmed down version of the Linux operating system, are organised round an automatically generated journal, and not through folders. Though the experience will be very different from a conventional PC, there is still the opportunity to create a word document, browse the web and use a RSS feed (for blogs). The project has received at least $29 million from companies like Google, Red Hat and News Corp.

The MIT Review article (1 January 2007) is worth reading in full and there’s a good website on further details of the project at  (http://www.laptop.org). The site also has a FAQ area and a Wiki section which explores many of the issues relating to the ‘One Laptop’ project in more detail.

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