The $100 Laptop

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Education, Technology, The World

Bring computing power to the third world and the shackles of poverty and desperation could begin to break under the weight of knowledge.

More from the Independent:

One man in Boston has a plan that he hopes will bridge the world’s gaping digital divide – and quickly. The visionary is Nicholas Negroponte, director of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his idea consists of a new kind of laptop computer that will cost just $100 (£57) to buy.

It will also be a little different in design from the sleek machines some of us in the west have learned to love or covet. It will be foldable in different ways, encased in bump-proof rubber and will include a hand-crank to give it power in those corners of the globe where electricity supply is patchy.

The first prototype of the machine should be ready by November and Mr Negroponte – who was one of the first prophets of the internet before most of us understood the word – hopes to put them into production next year.

In fact, he expects to churn out about 15 million of them within one year, shipping most of them at first to children in Brazil, Egypt, Thailand and South Africa.

Ahh yes, but couldn’t thugs just steal the laptops and sell them on the black market?

The answer is yes, however…

Mr Negroponte said that his laptops would be so distinctive in design and look that stealing and re-selling them would be akin to stealing furniture from a church. People would recognise where they come from. The look of the devices, he said yesterday, meant there would be “socially a stigma to be carrying one if you are not a student or a teacher”. Consequently, he imagines that no more than 2 per cent of the devices would fall into that murky “grey market”.

Of course it’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Bravo to Mr. Negroponte. He’s a true visionary and he understands that knowledge is indeed power.

Very cool stuff.


This entry was posted on Friday, September 30th, 2005 and is filed under Education, Technology, The World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “The $100 Laptop”

  1. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    Great stuff. BBC just did a story on a $200 AMD powered computer, sort of like this one (but not hand cranked, and twice as expensive) — available already in S. Africa. Especially good for hooking up to the internet.

Leave a Reply


NOTE TO COMMENTERS:


You must ALWAYS fill in the two word CAPTCHA below to submit a comment. And if this is your first time commenting on Donklephant, it will be held in a moderation queue for approval. Please don't resubmit the same comment a couple times. We'll get around to moderating it soon enough.


Also, sometimes even if you've commented before, it may still get placed in a moderation queue and/or sent to the spam folder. If it's just in moderation queue, it'll be published, but it may be deleted if it lands in the spam folder. My apologies if this happens but there are some keywords that push it into the spam folder.


One last note, we will not tolerate comments that disparage people based on age, sex, handicap, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry. We reserve the right to delete these comments and ban the people who make them from ever commenting here again.


Thanks for understanding and have a pleasurable commenting experience.


Related Posts: