MIT Media Lab Developing $100 Laptop

Posted on October 3, 2005

One Laptop Per Child laptopMIT is working on a project to develop a $100 laptop 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 are three ways the MIT says it can keep costs down on the laptop.
  • 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 resolution-all 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.
  • One of the prototype laptop designs (picture on right) shows a laptop with actual hand crank that can be used to generate power when electricity is unavailable. It is bizarre to see a hand crank on a laptop, but they are trying to make them as cheaply as possible.

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