One (well-designed, $100) laptop per child?

Like many others, I have a lot of questions about the OLPC project, but they do seem to be working hard and thinking carefully about the design. From the hardware specification page:

The wireless antennae are diversity antennae, and rotate upward using a rugged dual moulded nylon plastic design. When used rotated above the LCD, the antennae work significantly better than conventional built in antennae in existing systems or in Cardbus cards. This significantly increases the area each machine can cover in the mesh, and generally increases network performance. When closed, the antennae cover the audio and USB connectors to help keep dirt out of the connectors…

The machine is rugged. The most common failures of laptops are disk drives, fans, florescent back lights, power connectors, other connectors, and contamination of keyboards. Our machine uses flash, eliminating a disk, has no need for a fan, uses a rugged LED backlight rather than a florescent light, and uses a sealed rubber keyboard. It uses 2mm thick plastic, where a typical system might use 1.3mm. External connectors are carefully molded into the plastic for greater strength. The power connector is carefully chosen to be much more durable than usual, and again, the case is moulded carefully around it for greater strength. There are extremely few connectors in the machine, primarily just connecting the keyboard assembly to the motherboard (which is behind the LCD display). This eliminates most of the cables and connectors you will find in most laptops. We will be testing 500 systems to destruction this fall to identify anything we can do to increase further its ruggedness. There are internal bumpers to protect the display, and we are investigating external bumpers on the outside of the case for additional shock protection….

Novel dual-mode extra-wide touchpad, with dual sensor technology. Supports pointing… plus drawing and writing. Supports fingers, or a pen, pencil, or stylus…
[I’ve ALWAYS wanted one of these – Q]

Ah, to have the resources to do really thorough design…!

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