UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan unveiled the first working prototype of a $100 laptop at the World Summit on the Information Society in
Annan was joined by his wife, Nane Annan, and Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and co-founder of the Media Lab at MIT, in presenting the laptop to the 200-nation gathering.
The $100 laptop, first announced by Negroponte at the World Economic Forum in January 2005, is an ultra-low-cost, full-featured computer designed to ‘enhance children’s primary and secondary education worldwide’.
It is a joint project of the Media Lab and the nonprofit One Laptop per Child (OLPC) association, which aims to equip the world’s schoolchildren and their teachers with a personal, portable, connected computer.
OLPC is a Delaware-based, nonprofit organization created by faculty members from the MIT Media Lab to design, manufacture and distribute laptops that are sufficiently inexpensive to provide every child in the world access to knowledge and modern forms of education.
"The $100 laptop is inspiring in many respects," said Annan. "It is an impressive technical achievement, able to do almost everything that larger, more expensive computers can do. It holds the promise of major advances in economic and social development. But perhaps most important is the true meaning of 'one laptop per child.' This is not just a matter of giving a laptop to each child, as if bestowing on them some magical charm. The magic lies within -- within each child, within each scientist-, scholar-, or just plain citizen-in-the-making. This initiative is meant to bring it forth into the light of day."
The laptops will be sold to governments and issued to children by schools on a basis of one laptop per child. These machines will be rugged, Linux-based, and so energy-efficient that hand-cranking alone will generate sufficient power for operation.