It's all spinning wheels and self-doubt until the first pot of coffee.

MIT's $100 laptop

A research project at the MIT Media Lab has a plan for getting $100 laptops in the hands of millions of people around the world. One notable feature is a hand crank for providing power in places where electricity is undependable or unavailable.

Source: Images: MIT's $100 laptop | CNET News.com
Is it just me—or does anyone else think that if this thing ends up being useful at all, it'll turn into the most popular computing platform on the planet? Especially, I expect, if it's not too difficult to make, gets released into the public domain, and ends up being somewhat durable. And if it runsAnd since it runs something like Linux or a BSD, I could see it being superbly disruptive. (Sometimes it helps to read the fine article.)

Archived Comments

  • Of course the scuttlebutt around MIT Media Lab is that Microsoft (unsurprisingly) desperately wants in on this project and is lobbying for inclusion.

  • It's not just you. I'd buy one in a second. I quite like the idea of cranking up my computer in the morning...

  • Kellan: Well, gee. Why does Microsoft need to get in on this project? They could just come up with their own! I wonder if they could get the cost of Windows down far enough to come up with a $100 laptop.

    Dean: Yeah, I quite like that, too. I also have these occasional nightmares where Mad Max times have arrived, and I have to ally myself as the IT manager for the neighborhood Master Blaster. Crank-charged computers would sure be nice when they knock down the power lines with their road wars.

    (Of course, I realize there are plenty of countries without power lines at all and actual warlords...)
  • Look, if Micro$oft want to come on board and inject some of their cash let 'em.

    It's an MIT project - not a Microsoft one - and they've already selected the OS. Microsoft are definitely not idiots, lets use some of their knowledge and skill for the good of the people.

    Oh, and I utterly agree with Leslie. Remember how popular the ZX Spectrums were?

    The hand crank and power cord/strap are a work of genious.

  • Negroponte is too rich to be doing a normal career with hardships and efforts. He wants to travel and to "feel" things. He might become someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who first became famous for something, and afterwards had access to a lot of resources, and people voted for him.

    But I think he is doing it the right way. The world would really be a better place if he could go on with his project. Tomorrow every child from Boston is going to have a $100 laptop

    Maybe in 10 years every American child is going to have a $40 laptop, and in 20 years every Third World child has a Negroponte - $10 - laptop, when technology already entered a new era.

    Anyway, it is an important symbol for mankind. The potential to do something beautiful that every person has inside should be explored better. If the Third World were only half as civilized as we are, they would contribute so much to the development of civilization that the world would be different. How many MILLION of poor people JUST DIE every day, every second just because of their extreme poverty problems. What would be, if we helped them to help themselves? To become educated, to read, to understand how it could be different, and than to do the hardest part by themselves?