Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sign in | Create Account

The Hundred Dollar Laptop-Computing for Developing Nations

09/28/2005 8:45 AM Kresge
Nicholas Negroponte, BAR '66, MAR '66, Chairman and Co-Founder, MIT Media Laboratory Wiesner Professor of Media Technology; Chairman, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)

Description: Imagine a world where all school-age children own a laptop computer, even those living in villages lacking power and telephone service. Nicholas Negroponte has, and his One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) non-profit has propelled this vision into the real world. With backing from News Corporation and Google, among others, Negroponte has begun to line up millions of orders from Brazil, Thailand, Egypt, China and South Africa. Even the United Nations has bestowed its imprimatur on the concept. Negroponte's prototype computer is a "skinnied down" version of what he describes as the typical "obese" laptop. Remove sales and marketing costs, and set the machine up with a 7.5" screen, Linux software, a hand crank for power, rugged rubber case, and super bright display so "it can be taken into the sun and read like a book," and you've got a very inexpensive tool for helping 800 million children explore, interact and create. Don't fret about connectivity; the Media Lab's got that covered: each laptop becomes a "node in the mesh" of other local users, creating a novel network perfect for remote locations. For email and web browsing, just two MB can serve 1,000 kids, says Negroponte. The key to churning out these cheap educational devices is volume -- and the more countries that join the bandwagon, the sleeker and less expensive the computers are likely to be. Negroponte casts a wary eye on the potential grey market appeal of the machines, and is determined to make them so distinctive as a government-distributed, educational tool that taking one would "be like stealing a post office truck." Negroponte concludes, "Changing education on the planet is a monumental challenge," taking decades. But OLPC will "seed the change," and help "invent the future."

About the Speaker(s): Nicholas P. Negroponte has been on the MIT faculty since 1966. He was the founder of the Architecture Machines Group. In 1995, he published the bestseller Being Digital, which was translated into more than 40 languages. Negroponte was a founder of Wired Magazine, and serves on the board of directors for Motorola, Inc. He has been an 'angel investor' in more than 40 start-ups.

Host(s): Office of the Provost, Technology Review

Tape #: t-20299-t-20304

Comments (0)

It looks like no one has posted a comment yet. You can be the first!

You need to log in, in order to post comments. If you don’t have an account yet, sign up now!

MIT World — special events and lectures

MIT World — special events and lectures

Category: Events | Updated over 2 years ago

Created
December 12, 2011 21:04
Category
Tags
License
All Rights Reserved (What is this?)
Additional Files


Viewed
2014 times

More from MIT World — special events and lectures

Diverse Applications of Nuclear Technology

Diverse Applications of Nuclear Tec...

Added over 2 years ago | 02:02:00 | 3904 views

Oryx and Crake Revealed

Oryx and Crake Revealed

Added over 2 years ago | 00:59:26 | 1387 views

Global Health Equity

Global Health Equity

Added over 2 years ago | 01:11:00 | 3063 views

Paint it Black: Avoiding the Financial Beast of Burden in 2009 and Beyond

Paint it Black: Avoiding the Financ...

Added over 2 years ago | 01:29:00 | 3753 views

The World is Flat

The World is Flat

Added over 2 years ago | 01:15:00 | 5735 views

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Why Chemomechanical Design of Materials is Critical to Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Wh...

Added over 2 years ago | 00:49:15 | 4823 views