On Tuesday, Slashdot carried news of an project at MIT to create a super-cheap computer, similar to the OLPC project spun out of the Media Lab. Having played with an OLPC, as well as having met several of the designers and visionaries involved, I am convinced: OLPC really could change the world. It disrupts a poverty-creating causal chain that begins with education and ends with poorly developed human capital.
But what level of complexity and expense is needed to achieve OLPC’s aims? I have often thought about this. For instance, do you have to have a full LCD? Or a full keyboard? Or wifi?
If you accept OLPC exists because it can create a network of people, encourage human-computer interaction, and provide the capability to evolve over time to meet educational needs, this $12 project may be just as successful.
Good luck team!