Tuesday, November 22, 2005

$100 Green Machine Debuts at UN

Nicholas Negroponte and Kofi Annan demoed the Green Machine last week at the United Nations (stories at BBC, New Scientist, IEEE Spectrum). This is the coolest thing I have seen in a long, long time! It is meant to bring a reasonable level of computing to the poor children of the world.

The Green Machine is a sub-$100 laptop computer powered by a hand-cranked dynamo. It contains a simple, dual-mode bright LED screen to save power (no backlighting) and includes mesh networking capabilities to share Internet connections or just create ad-hoc networks. Naturally, it uses exclusively Open Source software, both to keep the price down and to facilitate internationalization to the world's poorest countries who are not a market force.

Professor Negroponte thinks he can get millions of these things built in short order and plans to sell them to governments, presumably opening the way for grants to help. Go, man, go!

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