One Laptop Per Child – a Preview of the Hundred Dollar Laptop
WorldChanging has an in-depth preview of Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop per Child project.
While the display is going to need to be custom manufactured, Negroponte believes it will be possible to produce it at a fraction of the cost of traditional displays, and his team is already negotiating with display manufacturers in Asia to produce the product. It's likely to be significantly less sharp than the LCD displays we're used to, but will use far less power. Negroponte's goal is for the machine to work on a 100:1 crank ratio – one minute of hand cranking generates sufficient power for the laptop to operate for 100 minutes.
I had several dozen questions based on my work with computers in challenging environments, and Negroponte had excellent answers to almost all of them. 12 volt power? There's an adaptor for that. Voltage surges? Shouldn't be a major problem given the modest power draw of the machine. Cooling? The machine doesn't have a fan since the processor is fairly slow and there's no disk drive.