Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Farewell to the One-Laptop-Per-Child (OLPC) project

XO-1 laptop
(Source: OLPC news)
The OLPC website officially reports that "OLPC is dead" and so is the development  of the XO-1 laptops. Sections of the OLPC project seem to be still operational but the full effort has subsided.

The idealistic project who aimed to close/narrow the digital divide by giving every child a specially designed laptop did unfortunately not succeed to reach its ambitious goals.

The rugged, low-power XO-1 laptop (also known as the $100 Laptop, the Children's Machine, and the 2B1) is an inexpensive sub-notebook computer that offered many interesting design features:

  • To improve internet connection in areas with limited access, the XO-1 used a WiFi mesh networking protocol to allow many machines to share Internet access as long as at least one of them can see and connect to a router or other access point.
  • Operation system: Slimmed-down version of Fedora Linux and a GUI named Sugar 
  •  Video camera, a microphone, and a hybrid stylus/touch pad. 
  • Power: The XO-1 was designed to use minimal amounts of power. In addition to a standard plug-in power supply, human power and solar power sources are available, allowing operation far from a commercial power grid.
  • Dual screen mode: Reflective (backlight off) monochrome mode for low-power use in sunlight (ebook mode) and backlit color mode.
  • Water-resistant membrane keyboard, designed for the small hands of children.
Farewell, OLPC and XO-1. We need more idealistic projects like this.