The One Laptop per Child Project

The One Laptop per Child or OLPC project is the brainchild of MIT Professor Nicholas Negroponte. The mission of the project is to help the under-privileged children (mainly from developing countries) to get the benefits of education using a laptop. The lightweight laptop developed under this project is known as the XO, which is a low cost, robust and powerful device. It has been designed keeping in mind the needs of children between the age of 6 and 12.

The idea behind the project is that an electronic device like laptop can be transformed into a mobile school. Laptops can help create a portable learning and teaching environment. XO can therefore be used can be used more than as a tool. It forms a new education imparting medium using the digital technology.

Configuration for OLPC (XO) laptop:
The configuration of the OLPC laptop is as follows:

Dimension: The approximate dimension of the laptop is 242 mm x 228 mm x 32 mm.

Weight: The approximate weight of the laptop is 1.45 Kg with LiFeP battery and 1.58 Kg with NiMH battery.

Core electronics: It is a fine laptop with reversible display with 256 Mb dynamic RAM and 1024 KB SPI-interface flash ROM. It has 1024 MiB mass storage, NAND flash and a high-speed flash controller. It also has a flash enabled chip and a high-performance Camera.

Display: It has a 7.5” Dual-mode TFT display and 152.4mm x 114.3mm viewing area. It has a high-resolution monochrome display and a standard-resolution color display.

However, the OLPC project has been a disappointment in Asian countries such as India and China. Mongolia is the only country in Asia where the project has been a little successful with approximately 15000 XO mini laptops. A common reason cited for the failure of the OLPC project in Asia is the dearth of salespersons to promote the project. Negroponte has said that India has not lived up to the expectation, though it consists of approximately 40% of world’s children. He also said that both India and China have big markets, but the instability of their respective governments is a major reason for the failure of the project.

Regardless of the criticism, the idea behind the project is noble.  We’d love to see more projects like this in the world, trying to make it a better place.  Better to fail while trying than not try at all.

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