Thursday, November 30, 2006

OLPC: What can we learn from it?

I think one of the biggest innovations on this project has to be the display technology developed by Mary Lou Jepsen. It is a a dual-mode display—both a full-color, transmissive DVD mode, and a second display option that is black and white reflective and sunlight-readable at 3× the resolution. And to top it all it uses only 2 w of power and costs only $40 to manufacture. That apart from the sheer audacity that the team displayed in its vision, has to be applauded.

Five countries have so far pledged its support for this project, though it's a pity that the Indian government decided not to (because of a fair amount of lobbying by the Wintel camp, I heard.) Even if the project fails to have much of an impact on third world education, as most of its detractors have voiced, once the technology gets into the commercial realm, it will have a large impact laptop prices overall. Unfortunately, I believe, this laptop itself cannot be made commercial...

Here's a link to a talk by Michail Bletsas, the Chief Connectivity Officer for the project.