It was supposed to be the laptop that saved the world.
In late 2005, tech visionary and MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte pulled the cloth cover off a small green computer with a bright yellow crank. The device was the first working prototype for Negroponte’s new nonprofit One Laptop Per Child, dubbed “the green machine” or simply “the $100 laptop”. And it was like nothing that Negroponte’s audience – at either his panel at a UN-sponsored tech summit in Tunis, or around the globe – had ever seen.
The OLPC was all the rage and hype for a few years back then, but it never materialised. Still, while not nearly the same thing, cheap mobile phones and smartphones have played a somewhat similar role.