Kyle Wiens of the Fixers project is tracking how electronics and other gear is used and fixed across Africa — and which things are destined to be landfill. He writes in the Atlantic this month about the challenges of maintaining computers in rural schools.
He looks at a popular Kindle-as-bookreader program, noting how predictable their high levels of breakage were, and how useful it would have been to be able to repair them in the field.
He cites OLPC’s design, public repair guides, and comprehensive list of parts as models for others to follow. And he kindly offers to help projects like Worldreader and others write a good repair manual if they would only do so and ship it with their devices. Take him up on that — he writes well!
Separate from the national program being rolled out in Eastern Ghana, Princeton University has a student-run Ghana School Library Initiative which is building a physical library in Ghana stocked with books and OLPCs. This program started in 2008, and is one of three projects coordinated by the Princeton University chapter of Engineers Without Borders. They shared an update with East Coast OLPCers this Spring, and have been writing about their new milestones this summer, as the library nears completion.
After some work earlier this year to repair and update some donated XOs, children have started working with their own laptops at the EP Basic school in Ashaiman, Ghana, where the team is working. They recently completed a week of physical construction and two classes a day with the students. The classes included working on educational activities with the children in Sugar, “to whet their appetites” to use the XOs more on their own.
OLPC Australia has released an update to their USB ‘toolkit’ for XOs, a collection of software on a USB thumb drive designed to assist in recovery, repair, and support scenarios. The new version is ready for testing, and Sridhar expects only documentation changes between now and its final release.
The XO-AU USB is OLPC Australia’s official means of delivering updates and troubleshooting tools to schools.
Peru has a large and complex XO project, certainly the most varied anywhere, with its mix of rural and urban, powered and off-grid. Now they are adding local assembly of future laptops, something many countries have considered but few have carried out.
As noted recently, local assembly offers shorter startup times for production, and gives the deploying country more of a stake in the ongoing project.
Peru is being supported directly by Quanta, our factory in China, in this. Similar arrangements will be a bit easier now that the first one is underway, but this sort of arrangement is hard to work out unless the deployment team is planning for a steady flow of hardware delivered over years.
Nevertheless, this is a great step for olpc sustainability. Between Peru’s interest in assembly, Uruguay’s recent interest in design for new audiences, and Paraguay’s interest in developing better software and OS builds, Latin American deployments are taking up shared ownership of most aspects of the project.
From their official announcement:
Continue reading Peru’s new XO assembly lines
Saturday’s OLPC Repair Fest clinic and training was a HUGE Success! Thanks to all those from around town who attended. Check out several videos & photos of the event care of Azamat Abdymomunov.
This Saturday we’re holding a repair workshop and presentation — if you haven’t torn down your XO and rebuilt it from the motherboard up, now’s your chance to try on someone else’s machine — and to learn how to break down and rebuild one in under half an hour, with nothing but a Phillips screwdriver!
We’re holding a workshop Saturday through the early afternoon. RSVP if you’re planning to come. The machines worked on will primarily be XO-1’s, since those are still the machines most likely encountered in the field. The major differences on the 1.5 make these sorts of repair much easier, not more complex — there’s little reason to take apart the bottom on a 1.5, for instance, since the keyboards just pop out.