Magazine article Geographical

US Laboratory Unveils Computer for All

Magazine article Geographical

US Laboratory Unveils Computer for All

Article excerpt

First came the wind-up radio, courtesy of Trevor Baylis. Now researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab have come up with a crank-powered, inexpensive computer to facilitate the education of children in the developing world.

Media Lab established One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a nonprofit initiative, a year ago, specifically to develop a computer that would be cheap enough to be widely distributed. Five corporate sponsors, including Google, each chipped in US$2million (1.1 billion [pounds sterling]).

The Media Lab device is a US$100, rubber-encased portable machine that will be capable of accessing the internet and creating peer-to peer networks. In addition to functioning as a normal computer, it will show films and display pages of a book.

A prototype was unveiled last November at the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who described it as "inspiring".

The green computer will feature a one gigabyte flash memory instead of the usual hard drive, which has more components, while a simple hand crank enables users to recharge its battery. …

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