Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Creating humanitarians out of computer consumers - THE XO LAPTOP

Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop per Child (OLPC) Foundation is based on its belief that a computer in the hands of children would allow them the chance to explore the world and delve into the Web's vast resources. It would give them a huge dose of "illimitable knowledge" from their seats in lesser developed countries.

But why a computer, how about money for schools, teachers and educational supplies? OLPC sees itself as supplemental to the efforts that are already ongoing to improve education in these countries. It sees the computer as the window to the world and a means for impoverished children to feel less isolated within their own countries and the world.

The laptop (XO) that hopes to sit on the lap of a deserving child is designed to be distinctive, rugged, efficient but most of all cheap. Initially pegged as the "100$ Laptop", manufacturing and other ancillary costs have the computer priced at about twice that. Initial reports about the computer have been mostly positive and rather complimentary.

With mass production about to begin the foundation recently announced the "Give 1 Get 1" initiative. The initiative calls for the sale of two computers for $400 in America. The purchaser gets to keep one while the other will be added to a pool for donations. Apart from creating a ready pool for donations, the foundation also hopes to create enough buzz to encourage private donations and governments to place large orders. There has been some talk about a luke warm response from governments that initially showed a lot of interest.

Initially OLPC will distribute computers in countries whose governments have made "commitments for the funding and program support required to ensure that all of their children own and can effectively use a laptop."

The Give 1 Get 1 program starts November 12th, until then you can sign on for an email reminder when the the initiative is officially launched.

Hopefully the program will set a trend in helping reach the many other supplies and necessities badly needed in many of the same countries.

No comments: