Self-replicating XOs, Part 1

Vik Olliver developed the RepRap 3D printer, an early draft of the holy grail of 3D printing: a printer that can replicate itself. Since then, RepRaps have taken hold of people’s imaginations and workshops around the world. Vik currently runs his own out of his basement, driven by Linux software running off of an XO.

To add another layer of awesome, Vik has been turning out gen-3 viewfinders for the XO. Cruder than gen-2, perhaps, but 10x cheaper.  For those of you who don’t regularly use your XO as a camera, here is the evolution of the XOview viewfinder:

But I just today saw my first of these third-generaiton XOviews, when Mike passed out a stack for our Cambridge office. (Thanks!)

As to how an XO is driving this machine making XO parts, OLPC NZ posted a lovely ‘how do they do that?’ video last fall as well. I’ve watched the video a couple of times, and I still want to see it in person. Are any local reprap owners willing to give a live demo?

Scratch the World! ANIMATE contest & updated Sugar activity

For those who haven’t noticed Scratch taking over the world, OLPC France published a lovely essay about the contest and the value of Scratch and Etoys for young students.

La promesse selon laquelle le projet CEIBAL donnerait aux élèves du pays des perspectives de réduction du fossé numérique et d’inclusion numérique n’est pas vaine, puisqu’ils sont désormais en mesure d’échanger d’égal à égal avec les jeunes créateurs Scratch appartenant à une communauté internationale à laquelle on doit déjà près d’un million de projets (projets Scratch) de par le monde.

The promise that CEIBAL would address the digital divide and digital inclusion for the nationls’ students is not in vain, since they are now on an equal footing with the young  Scratch artists in an international community which has produced nearly a million Scratch projects.

In Uruguay, Efecto Cine and Plan CEIBAL are running an “ANIMATE” contest through June 15 for the best Scratch submissions by students across Uruguay. Ten winners will be announced, with the top four receiving mini-DV cameras for their schools. (Rules)

Meanwhile, an updated Scratch activity is being developed with full Journal and camera integration, and a new activity release is expected within the week.  Kudos to everyone working on the project.

Efecto Cine and Plan CEIBAL are running an “ANIMATE” contest through June 15 for the best Scratch submissions by students across Uruguay. Ten winners will be announced, with the top four receiving mini-DV cameras for their schools. (Rules)

XO-1.5 early production laptops – free to contributors worldwide!

After a year of intense engineering draws to a close, One Laptop per Child is getting ready to take our new much faster XO-1.5 laptop out of the oven…

We ask educators and hackers the world over to taste our freshly baked treats: who do you know, who has Great Ideas for firing up classrooms using OLPC’s brand new XO-1.5 laptops, building lifelong opportunity for the world’s poorest children?

Take a Big Bite: If you are planning work on content, software, or hardware learning projects with an XO, please apply today to our contributors program.  If OLPC’s XO-1.5 C2 early production laptops can help you and your community innovate using Sugar and Gnome learning software, you may be able to get free laptops for development and testing.  OLPC and Sugar Labs would love your help empowering deep Learning/Deployment in some of the most challenging environments and underserved countries you know.

Dimpled XO 1.5 Hinge Cover
Dimpled XO 1.5 Hinge Cover: Look closely for the 3 new dots!

We recently modified the Contributors Program F.A.Q. to make clear that, in addition to content, software, and hardware work, we also encourage proposals for free laptops from volunteers doing exceptional and creative outreach/advocacy work.

Do you still need background on the XO-1.5’s breakthrough new performance and possibilities before you apply?  We invite pioneering educators and experimenters to jump in, helping pave the way for the next generation(s) of hands-on educational computing and open educational resources in all languages!

Thanks: group proposals especially welcome from informal user groups in any city worldwide!! If you too need help forming a community volunteer group like the ~100 people who recently signed up in Los Angeles, please write volunteer@laptop.org

(Small print: OLPC will pay for shipping and customs/import fees worldwide if you are approved, in all countries where this is possible)

XO-3 concept design is here!

Update: thanks for all of the feedback on the design!  There has been some discussion about materials, and a few interesting pieces have passed around the office, but no new eye-candy is forthcoming for a while — we’re busy getting the 1.5 out the door.

The XO-3: it’s designed to be thin, sleek, and touch, while continuing to lower power, cost, and material waste.  We’ve been anticipating the new designs for a while, and now they’ve arrived!  As announced in Tuesday’s  press release, after our upcoming releases of our 1.5 and 1.75 models next year, we are looking at the XO-3, a thin touchscreen tablet, for 2012.  Here are the latest images from the Fuse design team:

xo3 1

xo3 2

xo3 3

xo3 4

xo3 5

xo3 6

xo3 7

xo3 8

xo3 9

xo3 10

XO roadmap updates: XO 1.5, 1.75, and 3

Today we announced our coming hardware lineup, the pending production of the XO 1.5, and published the first concept photos and timeline for the XO-3 tablet.  Here’s the press release:

ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD DRIVES BREAKTHROUGH ADVANCES IN REVOLUTIONARY XO CHILDREN’S LAPTOP Product Road Map to Deliver Unprecedented High Performance, Low Power Consumption and Design Innovation at Lower and Lower Cost

Cambridge, Mass., Dec. 22, 2009 – One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help provide every child in the world access to a modern education, announced today its product road map to deliver robust laptop performance and innovative design for use in the most remote, poor and rural communities and at the lowest power and cost in the industry.

“The first version of OLPC’s child-centric laptop, the XO, is a revolution in low-cost, low-power computing. The XO has been distributed to more than 1.4 million children in 35 countries and in 25 languages,” said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child. “To fulfill our mission of reaching 500 million children in all remote corners of the planet, OLPC will continue to innovate in design and performance. Because we are a non-profit, we hope that industry will copy us.”

The new versions of the XO laptop will be as follows:

• XO 1.5 – The XO 1.5 is the same industrial design as the XO 1.0. Based on a VIA processor (replacing AMD), it will provide 2x the speed, 4x DRAM memory and 4x FLASH memory. It will run both the Linux and Windows operating systems. XO 1.5 will be available in January 2010 at about $200 per unit. The actual price floats in accordance with spot markets, particularly for those of DRAM and FLASH.

• XO 1.75 – The XO 1.75, to be available in early 2011, will be essentially the same industrial design but rubber-bumpered on the outside and in the inside will be an 8.9”, touch-sensitive display. The XO 1.75 will be based on an ARM processor from Marvell that will enable 2x speed at 1/4 the power and is targeted at $150 or less. This ARM-based system will complement the x86-based XO 1.75, which will remain in production, giving deployments a choice of processor platform.”

• XO 3.0 – The XO 3.0 is a totally different approach, to be available in 2012 and at a target price well below $100. It will feature a new design using a single sheet of flexible plastic and will be unbreakable and without holes in it. The XO 3.0 will leapfrog the previously announced (May 2008) XO 2.0, a two-page approach that will not be continued. The inner workings of 3.0 will come from the more modest 1.75.

Let us know what you think!

PixelQi update: 3Qi display enters production

When I joined OLPC in 2006, the first thing that blew my mind was the open collaborative process  used across the project.  The second was Mary Lou Jepsen‘s incredible  sunlight-readable screen.

When the first prototype came to our machine lab, I used to stop in every day before heading home, to spend a few minutes looking at it or using it.  The displays have a delicious matte quality (the original prototypes had a similar glossy one) that makes anything displayed on them look like a work of art — not unlike the effect of a good matte finish on a photo print, or a tuxedo on the boy next door.  And it’s low-power and inexpensive, the sort of technology shift that should become universal.

We have always been open about the tech that goes into our work, in the hopes that other designers and creators will learn from our experiences.  And this display, one of the miracles of the XO, has long been something we’ve hoped to see appear in other laptops and devices.

So it has been delightful to watch the growth of PixelQi, Mary Lou’s new company focusing on producing and distributing those displays.  Their latest screen is 10.1″ and slightly lower-power and higher contrast than the screen in the XO-1.  Here’s a side-by-side comparison of different displays in an office… one of them with its backlight off.

A Pixel Qi screen with its backlight off, next to standard computers with backlights on.  Bright office lighting.
A Pixel Qi screen with its backlight off, next to standard computers with backlights on, in bright office lighting conditions.

Today they announced they have started mass production, and will be on display with some of their first clients in at CES in January.   Technophiles may be lusting after them for indoor use, but we’re looking forward to the day that all netbooks are usable in outdoor classrooms.   To the PixelQi team: congratulations!

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http://pixelqi.com/