It was good to see some good news come from the project to produce a USD100 laptop for poor regions and developing countries. Nicholas Negroponte, MIT MediaLab personage, and co-founder of Wired magazine was at a UN forum, and along with the project’s CTO unveiled a prototype of the laptop which they’re hoping will help the developing world get on the internet ladder and bring awareness and communications to those people who currently just don’t have the means to get it.
Basically, they’ve developed a small laptop running Linux, and using a very clever LCD, a wind-up battery, wireless, speakers, microphone etc. which by late 2006 will weigh in at USD100 (currently it’s 110 apparently), which they’ll sell to governments, charities etc. for exclusive usage in poor areas of the world. Go to the site above, or check this link to the pics – the machine looks very cool, and hopefully they can sell them in wealthy areas at a big profit sometime to fund even more into poor areas.
Overall, I think this kind of project is really useful, and combined with things like Geekcorps might help a lot of people get on the ladder to help their own countries. Of course, this kind of relies on bringing food, shelter and safety to huge numbers of people beforehand!