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.
Names can be confusing at times. Take “One Laptop per Child“: should the per be capitalized? This was debated long after logos and t-shirts had been designed. OLPC has included two separate non-profits since its inception:
- A 501c4 association, originally set up to execute the mission of the project (Formally: ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD ASSOCIATION, INC – no acronym, capitalization question avoided via ALL CAPS registration)
- A 501c3 foundation, originally set up to receive tax-deductible donations to support the mission (Formally: OLPC Foundation or OLPCF – acronym, just to make things complicated)
At first, most OLPC work was associated with the Association (ha!) and the Foundation dealt only with fundraisers and the like. Last year, we started dividing effort between the two bodies. Our projects focused on the poorest countries, remote access, and rebuilding after disasters and conflicts, moved to the Foundation. Rodrigo Arboleda Halaby, a supporter of OLPC since its inception, was invited to lead the Association, which took more explicit responsibility for long-term support for stable deployments and work in Latin America. They set up headquarters in Miami, originally with a staff of two. Now they have a solid team, a new Board, and the first OLPC baby…
This week the Association hosted a coming out party in the South Floriday community, with a debut breakfast for supporters, featuring Samuel Dusengiyumva from the OLPC Rwanda team, who spoke about Rwanda’s plans for the future.
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:
- from Mike Lee’s lego construct (modeled here by a fine shock of curly hair)
- to a beautifully precise 3D-printed model by Phil Carizzi, the next month (modelled here by an enthusiastic Cici)
- to this simpler and lower-cost reprapped version, first noticed by us in the taniwha’s hands last fall.
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?
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.
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!