It’s been a worthwhile wait. The OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) initiative led by Nicholas Negroponte is finally hitting the prototype and B-1 test build. Yesterday, it was announced under the OLPC Community News:
Shanghai: Mark Foster reports that the first prototypes of the OLPC XO-1 are up and running! The team hand-assembled the first 10 units to evaluate the system’s many custom components, to perform systems-integration testing, and to ensure that the production process is solid, all in preparation for next week’s B1-Test build. Quanta will assemble 900 OLPC machines that will be used for destructive testing and distribution to our development partners. Our vision is a step closer to becoming a reality. It cannot be overstated how much both the hardware and software teams have poured their hearts and souls into reaching this milestone. Kudos to all of them.
I was privileged to see Nicholas Negroponte at last year’s AIGA Design Conference, his enthusiasm and true dedication to this initiative is real. The main stage keynote was a shared conversation between the technologist Negroponte and designer Milton Glaser, who were both present at the first AIGA Design Conference 20 years prior. This session, entitled “Since Then: Two Points of View” was riveting and happily the podcast is available on the AIGA web site.
(From the AIGA web site) This conversation between two of the world’s most significant voices from design and technology began at the first AIGA national conference in Boston 20 years ago when AIGA represented graphic artists and technology promised to change the world. Together, these giants discuss their work and relationships to community, history and humanity. At the AIGA Design Conference in 2005, they reflect on what has changed and what has remained the same.
Nicholas shared his experiences bringing initial laptop models to school children in Cambodia. There, the children’s first english words were “google” and “skype” – and at night sometimes the laptop was the brightest light in the house. The $100 laptop is taking the bare bones approach to product design and distribution – taking away the layers of marketing, promotion, distribution and licensing. Built on an open source Linux system with costs dramatically reduced by a new solution for display based on a low-cost DVD screen. There will be wireless broadband and many other features including 4 usb ports. The laptops will be mass produced and shipped in the millions – and distributed like educational books in developing communities around the world.
Cheers to the $100 laptop. And anyone who wants to write about offering food instead of technology – let’s stay on the positive side of this and understand the motivation and mission to create a connected world.