$100 Hand-Crank Laptop Almost a Reality

Thanks to Nicholas Negroponte and the Media Lab at MIT, children in developing nations around the world will have access to technology. Negroponte, the co-founder of the Lab, said MIT and his non-profit, One Laptop Per Child, is in discussions with five countries -- Brazil, China, Thailand, Egypt and South Africa -- to distribute up to 15 million test systems to children. The idea is that governments will pay roughly $100 US for each laptop, and distribute them for free. The laptops will largely be powered by a side-mounted hand-crank, and can be juiced up with convential electric current or batteries, when they're available. The proposed design of the machines calls for a 500MHz processor, 1GB of memory and an innovative dual-mode display that can be used in full-color mode, or in a black-and-white sunlight-readable mode. One display design being considered would also consume unconventionally low amounts of power and money; Negroponte said the technology can be used to produce displays that cost roughly 10 cents per square inch. "The target is $12 for a 12-inch display with near-zero power consumption," he said. The systems will be Wi-Fi and cell phone-enabled, and along with four USB ports, will include something called "mesh networking," a peer-to-peer concept that allows machines to share a single internet connection. Negroponte said the current plan is to produce 100 million to 150 million units by 2007. ::CNET via ::Gizmodo