India’s tantalizing tablet

As noted here last week, India’s Human Resource Development Minister Sibal announced an interest in distributing a $35 touchscreen tablet to students across India.  Charbax demonstrated the reference design used is likely from AllGo Embedded Systems, which recently displayed a matching ARM device.

While Fast Company, Wired, (and later All Things Considered) have responded  skeptically to the proposed cost, let’s assum that one day we will be able to make such tablets, just as we now have $100 laptops. (I don’t think they are far off – we likewise think we can have a more powerful, rugged tablet for twice that cost by the following year.)  What I want to know is: will the government invest in a national deployment, in providing equal access to rich and poor, and in the connectivity infrastructure needed to make this a truly empowering shift?

Some of the statements made suggest the government are considering a nation-wide 50% subsidy and promotion across over 5,000 schools. That’s a fantastic start — I hope their interest persists long enough to start such a project in earnest.


Update: We would be glad to share any of our tech and experience with an India project to help their vision succeed. Nicholas published an open letter to the Ministry inviting them to Cambridge.

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?

Now that’s a great smile…

We all took a group photo yesterday afternoon, after a long week.  There was a camera crew idling in the office who were kind enough to oblige us.

That’s Delisile’s son in front holding up an XO and smiling… as charming as he is gorgeous.  Even Tom Brady was shy in his presence.

The Cambridge crew takes a break

The Cambridge crew takes a break

Everyone has been getting a bit jumpy with the gray weather and long days, but this was fun. Henry is showing off the New York Times front page.  If you look closely, you can see that after Amy, our controller, came into the office this morning the market rallied a few hundred points.

More updates coming soon: with news about G1G1 around the world, launch parties this Sunday, and new videos, photos, and essays.  Send specific questions and requests our way!