One laptop per Child
One laptop per Child is a project lead by a coallision of known and unknown computer experts, science labs and companies. Their mission is to provide children with a low-power, low-cost computer to improve the computer knowledge in the third world. Its design for children with simple educational software that should stimulate and getting children familiar with computers. Some of the educational software is a grapical programming interface, in where the children can learn to program snapping together colorful pieces to create interactive animations. Another examples are a journal to help in project works and a measure tool that allows children to explore and learn by connecting and observing physical phenomena. Ofcourse the computer also supply the children with standard computer software as a web browser and a word processor.
To distribute a computer in a region without the infrastructure we are used to in the western world could be difficult. How could a computer communicate with other computers without connecting directly or through a switch or a hub. And if the computers are connected to eachothers how could they communicate with three or more computers? The answer here is the new XO mash network. With this technology the computers can make several connections to different other computeres working as hubs. If one of the computers in the network is connected to the Internet this computer will share this connection with the others.
The technical specs are weak. They are not what I would e.g. buy in a new computer. The processor is running with a frequens at 433Mhz, and it has 1 GB Storage and 256 MB RAM. But that is not the important thing. The computer is also running on open source software. Every piece of software has to be open source. This cuts the software costs since its free.
Last year I got to try one of these small computers when Håkon Wium Lie, Technology Chied at Opera Software, visited our institute and brought with him one of these small computers. To try this computer was fun, but I did not get enough time to get familiar with the computer and its user interface.