Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 15th Sep 2007 19:57 UTC, submitted by Bobthearch
Hardware, Embedded Systems The vaunted 'USD 100 laptop' that Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers dreamed up for international schoolchildren is becoming a slightly more distant concept. The USD 100 laptop has many innovative features including a pull cord for recharging by hand. Leaders of the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child that was spun out of MIT acknowledged Friday that the devices are now slated to cost USD 188 when mass production begins this fall. The last price the nonprofit announced was USD 176; it described USD 100 as a long-term goal.
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While I still have some trouble with the idea that 3rd world nations need lappys more than they need practical skills or food

The OLPC is for places where food, water and basic sanitation are available. Education is the next thing they need to develop a self sustained existance and that's what OLPC is targeting from what I read. The places that don't have food and water have bigger issues to resolve than education though knowledge also helps those situations.

As for skills, there was a big trend in international development a while back where humanitarian programs would come into a village, build wells, build sewage, provide farming tools; then leave. With no one having the skills to maintain the wells, sewage systems and such, they all just rotted. When the tractor brakes an no one can fix it; it just sits off to the side and rusts. One of the ideas behind OLPC is that the kids who make use of the machines now become the next generation of engineers. There's more value in them learning the basic technologies to maintain plumbing and waste management than simply installing a system that none of the locals understands.

It still comes down to education. Some kids will fall in love with the technology and explore the open source to understand how it works and extend it as they wish. Other kids will use the machine only as a window too other information such as engineering, world politics, farming markets.. whatever interest the non-techie kids fall in love with. Heck, even being able to look up fair market value for grains would benefit the farmers.

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