Thursday, August 2, 2007




This Inexpensive laptop that Negroponte comes with will make the children in the poor countries express their creativity.

Through his foundation, One Laptop per Child, Negroponte tries to collaborate with many parties to fulfill his dream. Negroponte is determined to produce an inexpensive laptop for the children in poor countries. Until the end of 2007, 5 million to 10 million laptops will be produced according to the demands from the requesting countries. The laptops, called XO, are produced in Taiwan by the biggest Laptop manufacturer in the world, Quanta. On October 2007, these laptops are sold at 100 USD each and will be distributed freely by the poor countries government in Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Republic of Dominica, Greece, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda, Tunisia and Uruguay.

“We desired that the children can build something, create music, communicate with other children and do exploration,” said Negroponte with shiny eyes. These laptops come with webcams and can be used for chatting as well as doing phone call because they are also equipped with wireless connections and microphones. According to Negroponte, even the production costs are significantly reduced, it doesn’t mean that the laptops are unreliable. More than that, Negroponte explained, the laptops are exclusively designed for the children in the poor countries that have education facilities drawback. The laptops are also waterproof and shock proof so it can be used in extreme places like the desert of Libya or the mountain of Peru. Furthermore, the laptops can use sunbeam as its power.

Negroponte admitted that he doesn’t want to be half-done in designing the laptop. He wants XO can be used in the most extreme places. He wants the laptop can be used by the children even they doesn’t have a classroom and they have to use it in an open space. If that happen, the children will still be able to use the laptops, because the monitors are designed specifically for sunlight so they can still be read. The laptops also have gone through several endurance tests. “We have conducted tests by dropping it from 6 or 7 feet height. This computer has the equipments that my laptop and your laptop don’t have,” Negroponte believed.

Using 1 Giga byte of memory and open source software, this laptop is very convenient to be used. Moreover, Negroponte stated that this laptop can endure very high temperature. Testers have put the laptop in an oven at 50 Celsius and the laptop can still operate normally. For more assurance, Negroponte and his team have conducted tests in Nigeria and Brazil.

From the beginning, Negroponte realizes that he can’t do this on his own, so he tried to cooperate with many parties to design, fund, and produce those laptops. As the result, 800 parts and components of XO comes from many supplier and manufacturer like processor manufacturer, AMD. Gustavo Arenas from AMD show full supports for Negroponte. “This was the moment we have been waiting for. We are very confident with the mission and vision of OLPC so this plan finally becomes reality, not only it is working but it is also satisfying,“ he stated. Besides the support from AMD, Negroponte also managed to get support from Brightstar Corporation, eBay, Google, Marvell, News Corporation, SES Global, Nortel Networks, Red Hat, and Intel. Each of those companies has contributed 2 million USD to OLPC.

In making his dream, Negroponte not only has got support, but also critics. Critics say that Negroponte’s idea is too foolish. They said that poor countries need sanitation, water and healthy care more than laptops. “This is an education project, not a laptop project” Negroponte replied. Negroponte statement was agreed by Kofi Annan. Annan said that the project was an expression of global solidarity that Negroponte has. “It will open a new perception for the children’s education,” Annan affirmed.

Negroponte admitted that, until now, the production cost range from 135 USD to 176 USD, not 100 USD like expected before. Negroponte explained, those cost may vary according to the price of the components in the market, but in 2008 the production cost will be 100 USD, according to the original plan.

Negroponte has been quite famous in architecture and computer field. Negroponte is the founder and the leader of Emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. He grew up in New York and graduated from Le Rosey (Swiss) and Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut in 1961. Negroponte then got his master title in architecture at MIT and graduated in 1966. After he graduated, he teaches at MIT and also being a professor at Yale, Michigan and University of California, Berkeley. His interest in human and computer interaction showed up when he was involved in MIT’s Architecture Machine Group. This group was founded by Negroponte in 1967. As a researcher, Negroponte often wrote his research on Wired Magazine, a magazine that he found in 1992. From the year 1993-1998, he acted a columnist on that magazine, on the column ‘Move bits, not atoms’. Negroponte ideas soon become a best seller book like his book ‘Being Digital’ (1995). That book contains his prediction about ways to make an interactive world. This idea became the main reason when he established OLPC in 2002.

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