Nicholoas Negroponte, chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, spoke recently at their annual Emerging Technologies Conference confirming that MIT is planning to provide low cost computers to underprivileged children in developing countries globally as well as to students here in the U.S. The One Laptop per Child nonprofit group is the offshoot of the Media Lab that will handle coordinating this ambitious plan. Five countries have already committed to participating including Brazil, China, Egypt, South Africa, and Thailand. Massachusetts is the first state to discuss using these machines in it’s public schools.
The first of these machines should be ready by late 2006 or early 2007. Their specifications include a 500 MHz processor with 1 GB of RAM running Linux. An important coporate partner of the group is Red Hat, Inc., so I am guesing the OS will be a derivative of Red Hat’s popular (and my favorite) distribution Fedora Core. A primary factor for the affordability of these computers (M.I.T.’s $100 price point seems firm) is an innovative, flexible, 12-inch dual-mode LCD display developed at M.I.T. that cost only $12 each to manufacture. Other features of the laptop include Wi-Fi and cell phone capability, USB, and a “wind-up” power source.
The full and more detailed article about this story is available at PC Magazine’s web site.