The pop-up antennas look like little Shrek Horns to me, but they serve a vital purpose on this One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) nonprofit green machine called the ‘XO’…Those little rabbit ears can transmit educational ‘umphf’ to kids in developing countries with a bounty of e-books, internet access, video/music and a world of knowledge…all with sturdy simplicity. (video PSA here)
I figure if anyone would know how to evaluate the XO’s ability to withstand rugged, remote conditions enough to be relevant to the lives of these children, it would be Sky, as he’s always outbound with a backpack and an air ticket to some exotic locale…
Thankfully, it looks like MIT Media Lab’s founder Nicholas Negroponte and his team did just that, designing for bright sun, dim light, splash and dust abuse, low energy draw, plus a manually-operated system if the power blows. (foot pedal instead of crank?) Smooth.
Here’s a solid write-up on the Educate4Dev blog, which includes a video demo of the XO with New York Times’ techie David Pogue doing a “show & tell.” He sums the laptop.org vision and mission concisely, it’s “Not intended for snarky bloggers, it’s intended for poor kids in other countries, and for that, it’s amazing.” Here’s the deal…
Now until Nov. 26, you can ‘give one/get one’ as a ‘twofer’ in North America only at $399, ($200 tax deductible).
Need another nudge? In the USA, T-Mobile will toss in a free year of HotSpot wi-fi access (worth $350 in itself) a nice bennie for travelers who tap into airport hubs and cafes with any of their gear-on-the-go.
With nearly two—billion children in the developing world inadequately educated, and one in three not completing fifth grade, I’d say this is a perfect win-win for this season of Thanksgiving, to pay it forward to a child in need.
I’m in. Just ordered mine.
I must say, customer service was stellar and all went smoothly, which I’m taking as a good sign. Consumerist feedback echoes my thumbs up. (and yeah, yeah, I know there are plenty of bigger picture glitches to be considered too, but I’m all for giving it a shot)
I’m hoping my ‘give one’ will go to one of my fellow WLW delegates in
Evidently you can’t specify who the recipient is, (or even the country where it’s going, unless you cough up REALLY big bucks to buy that right) but between ‘what kids can learn’ on this gizmo and the ‘Trickle up.org’ factor of taking the first steps out of poverty by using media for positive change, regardless of who ends up with the green machine, I’m in.
Inhabitat lists it as their fave for humanitarian “product design with a conscience.” Yep. And it’s dang cute, too. XO. Even the name makes me think of kisses and hugs for the kidlets. And it certainly ignites the warm-n-fuzzies trying to help kids…
The lime green “XO” first caught my fancy considering it for our eco-community in
Solar viability, some adapted form of hand-crank/manual design if the power fails, and water, splash-n-dust resistant? Yep, looks like it would hack it, even if iguanas and ‘monkey lalas’ traipse over the keyboard…
Roatan is a dive spot, which looks a bit like Hawaii did 75+ years ago, (no I wasn’t there, kids). It has one road, ‘rental cars’ that are pickups with springs sticking out of the seats, and seat belts that may or may not work, depending on how much you push for preference and plea your case…
We have an alliance with some schools over there, always in need of supplies, so we’re anxious to ‘show and tell’ if this lil’ green guy does even half it says it does in these XO specs.
While most applaud the noble gesture in the tech talk world as part of a larger and great solution, some of the snips and quips should also be kept in mind in order to find another way around the obstacles. (Rose-colored glasses are pretty, but polarized lenses can cut the glare better, and prevent missteps/accidents in the long run, n’est ce pas?)
It reminds me of our WLW summit when many African delegates from multiple regions talked about NGOs being clueless about some of the villagers’ issues, and forging ahead with grants to ‘bring water to a region’ only to have the plumbing dug up and rendered useless as hungry families sold the scrap to trade for food…sigh.
And yes, we all know other firms are eyeing profits sans altruism to see how they can make a buck on cheap laptops as well…But rather than bash the biggies, I favor Andy Carvin’s even-handed approach to narrowing the digital divide through collaboration, as he reminded, “different tools for different circumstances.”
Naysayers who note the $100 pricetag is “aspirational” might want to consider that with mass production it may still be achievable, so I say cut ‘em some slack, wait-n-see, sheesh! And yes, some countries need it to be $10 not $100…I get that. But…this is going in the right direction.
As Emily Dickinson said, “Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops… at all.”
Hope is key to the OLPC mission, but so is action…and I sing that tune loudly everyday here at Shaping Youth. Any other ‘birds of a feather’ want to join me?
Seems this is a classic opportunity to use the power of media for positive change, ‘shaping youth’ in a sustainable, uplifting direction!
Other OLPC Resources At A Glance
OLPC Main Site (laptop.org)
OLPC Give One/Get One Promo ’til 11/26!