4.4
20 reviews
89

XO-1, The Children's Machine


$200.00 Released January, 2007

Product Shot 1 The Pros:Very affordable laptop. Low power consumption (2 Watt). A great humanitarian effort.

The Cons:Not available on (nor targeted at) the western market. Slower and older hardware than comparably priced netbooks. Forced charity - you must purchase one for a child in the third world if you desire to purchase one yourself.

Also known as the XO-1, the Children's Machine is the cost-effictive laptop project by the US-based, non-profit company One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), http://laptop.org. Founded by members of MIT faculty, its goal is to produce a $100 laptop that can be distributed to schoolchildren around the world.

Product Shot 2 While that price goal had not been met by the start of 2008, the XO is a reality -- a fully featured laptop with a color screen and wireless connectivity that runs a new graphical user interface on top of Linux.

Hilights of the technology include instant "mesh" networking between laptops without the need for an external server or Internet, a unique low power/low cost color display that can be used as a monochrome reflective screen in daylight , a measly 2 Watt power consumption rating (compared to 25-40W for a typical laptop), a rugged case designed to withstand harsh conditions, a web browser based on the Firefox engine, a word processor, and email offer through Google's GMail. Educational software includes programming languages based on Logo, Smalltalk and Python, a music construction set that turns the XO into a synthesizer with the typewriter keys serving as a two-octave keyboard, plus word processing, drawing, calculation and measurement applications. A built in camera takes still and video pictures or records audio. The machine has no hard drive or other moving parts, but has a gigabyte of flash memory, an SD card slot and three USB ports, which can be used for storage devices as well as etxernal keyboards, mice and measurement devices.

While the computer is not available for retail sale, a Christmastime 2007 "Give One, Get One" program allowed supporters in North America to purchase a computer for a child in the developing world and buy one for themselves, for a total investment of $400, half of it tax-deductible. Wiki, mailing list and Web bulletin board systems allowed users to form support communities for machines they purchased through the non-commercial project. The Beta-1 release began in late 2006, followed by a  Beta-2 release in February, 2007. Quanta Computer has been contracted to manufacture the XO-1.

According to Wikipedia, here are the specs as of March, 2007:

  • CPU: 433 MHz AMD Geode LX-700 at 0.8 watt, with integrated graphics controller
  • 1200×900 7.5" diagonal LCD (200 dpi) that uses 0.1 to 1.0 watts depending on mode. The two modes are:
    • Reflective (backlight off) monochrome mode for low-power use in sunlight. This mode provides very sharp images for high-quality text.
    • Backlighted color mode, with an effective resolution that is asymetricly reduced in complicated ways. See below for details.
  • 256 MiB of Dual (DDR266) 133 MHz DRAM
  • 1024 KiB (1 MiB) flash ROM with open-source LinuxBIOS and OpenFirmware
  • 1024 MB of SLC NAND flash memory
  • External SD card slot[25]
  • Wireless networking using an “Extended Range” 802.11b/g wireless chipset run at a low bitrate (2 Mbit/s) to minimize power consumption.
  • Marvell 8388 wireless chip, chosen due to its ability to autonomously forward packets in the mesh even if the CPU is powered off. An ARM processor is included.
  • Dual adjustable antennae for diversity reception.
  • Water-resistant membrane keyboard using a fairly conventional (QWERTY in the US International localization) layout. The multiplication and division symbols are included.
  • Dual five-key cursor-control pads; four directional keys plus Enter
  • Touchpad for mouse control and handwriting input
  • Built-in color camera, to the right of the display, VGA resolution (640×480)
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • Built-in microphone
  • Audio based on the AC97 codec, with jacks for external stereo speakers and microphones, Line-out, and Mic-in
  • 3 external USB2 ports.
  • Power sources:
    • DC input, ±10–25 V
    • 5-cell rechargeable NiMH battery pack, 22.8 watt-hour (82 kJ) capacity

User Reviews (21)

  •  
Add Pros & Cons
89
ProScore
Pros
  • 15

    Very affordable laptop

  • 15

    Low power consumption (2 Watt)

  • 14

    A great humanitarian effort

  • 11

    Runs all of your basic computing software

  • 9

    Linux!

  • 4

    Screen readable in bright daylight

  • 3

    ruggedized design for use by children in developing countries

  • 3

    high resolution screen (1200×900px)

  • 3

    Built-in camera

  • 3

    Easy to repair

  • 2

    Ubuntu distro on SD available for grownups

  • 2

    Highest resolution of any netbook (200 dpi)

  • 2

    Programmed in Python, an easy to learn language.

  • 2

    great WiFi performance

  • 2

    Fast startup

  • 2

    Open source software

  • 2

    3 USB ports

  • 2

    Memory card slot

  • 2

    Can be hand-powered with a pedal, crank, or pull-cord

  • 2

    No HDD to prevent damage if dropped

  • 2

    Designed to withstand being dropped by a child

  • 2

    Rubber-sealed keyboard can withstand spills

  • 2

    Mesh networking feature for connecting students in a classroom setting

  • 1

    Hard to open --> meant to be challenging for the mind!

  • 1

    7.5-inch screen can pivot 180 degrees into an e-Book mode

  • 1

    frame is resistant to water, tumbles, and temperature extremes

  • 1

    bullet-proof build

  • 1

    Bitfrost security system forgoes firewalls and anti-virus software for built-in restrictions for each program that limits the data it can see and the hardware it can control

Cons
  • 2

    Not available on (nor targeted at) the western market.

  • 2

    slower and older hardware than comparably priced netbooks

  • 1

    forced charity - you must purchase one for a child in the third world if you desire to purchase one yourself

  • 1

    child-oriented hardware and software design

  • 1

    over-complex file handling

  • 1

    wish it was more affordable

  • 1

    no Caps Lock

  • 1

    struggles to run Linux under a super-minimalist GUI called Sugar

  • 1

    no hard drive

Comments (18)

What's on your mind? See more ProductWiki Talk
vsaxena911
vsaxena911: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine My brother Deepak worked for the company that produces these, and in fact had a part in creating this product!!! May 27, 09
post a reply
post a reply
Erik
Erik: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine @uglypug: Wow. I'm amazed by your rash judgments. Did you even read the comments that you were responding to? For example, how is going on at length about the suffering of Africa relevant to Amanie's original point? She was merely saying that anything furthering education (including the XO-1) is a good thing, and you responded by calling her "retarded". Nice.

"And I will drag anyone who disagrees to my next trip over AND pay for it."

Are you suggesting kidnap as a means of persuasion? Nov 6, 07
post a reply
uglypug
uglypug: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine

@dialupinternetuser
How about TEACHING them how to get get water for themselves? Remember the quote about teaching a man to fish instead of giving him one (he will eat for life, instead of a day)? The internet is the world's biggest library, teach them how to use it, and they will find a way to improve their lives on their own, at a minimum of expense (they are more motivated, as well).

@Amanie
Are you retarded? Do you know how impoverished most people in Africa are? Beyond Kenya, and a few other pockets, it's worse than any continent on earth, politically, socially, economically, AIDS_wise, and in their every day standard of life. Do you know why most women die in Africa, statistically? Because they have to fetch water. Either of disease, eventual physical problems, or being raped and beaten on the way there and back, in any event they die in horrenous numbers, I've been there, I know a little.

@artsyninja
"""As for the children in Africa thing, i agree with dialupinternetuser, instead of trying to educate the children by giving them computers, why don't we start with trying to keep them alive, then we could possibly teach them to "READ and WRITE", THEN maybe they could actually USE the laptops. and why don't we build more schools and safe places for the kids to go instead of just trying to "improve" the few they already have. also, i think people should be more..."""



WHAT?? You can't even use punctuation or grammar, how do you even dare tell other people how to "READ and WRITE"? That is so stupid, it's beyond comprehension (that means "understanding"). Get a life, write a check, go eat your bon-bons, but quit trying to show your ignorance, you stupid, spoiled, racist girls. These computers will open up the world to these people - and they are people, just like us, except most are better and more intelligent - and quite possibly take over the earth.

This is the most compelling and truly humanitarian project I've seen in 30 years, and to me, it shows the goodness of man. And I will drag anyone who disagrees to my next trip over AND pay for it. Please support this effort, as I've already seen many benefits, and too many tragedies to count, and it just might possibly change the world.

Nov 6, 07
post a reply
artsyninja
artsyninja: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine it's an awesome product and great that kids can afford one of these and go online to do research and "further their education" and it would help the environment because you wouldn't need as many textbooks so less habitats and trees would be killed but the children in america already have a huge problem with obesity and making it easier for children to sit home and just get on their own computer to look something up instead of takin a walk or something to the library isn't going to help. also, i doubt the kids will use the computer ONLY for school, as it is children spend WAY too much time on the computer playing video games, talking on instant messangers and going on sites they shouldn't even know about let alone be looking at... and what ever happened to actually writing something or talking on the phone? people just use e-mail and text messages.... pretty soon even tests like the SATs and other standardized tests are going to have to be electronic because kids won't have learned how to write, they'll just know how to type.... i see plenty of problems that could come about from giving children their own laptop and as for the children in africa thing, i agree with dialupinternetuser, instead of trying to educate the children by giving them computers, why don't we start with trying to keep them alive, then we could possibly teach them to READ and WRITE, THEN maybe they could actually USE the laptops. and why don't we build more schools and safe places for the kids to go instead of just trying to "improve" the few they already have. also, i think people should be more aware of the things going on in their own country too. there are starving children all over america and in every other country too but no one realizes that because all you see on tv and the internet is children dying in Africa and other 3rd world nations Jun 18, 07
post a reply
onyxravine
onyxravine: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine TXT books vs info accessible on the net....they still charge you way more than they deserve to buy digital copies of their text books :-/ This will just help to reduce the number of tangible texts that need to be produced, which could actually benefit our environment :) Apr 4, 07
post a reply
dialupinternetuser
dialupinternetuser: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine Are kids in the middle of Africa going to know how to use this? How about giving them water. Mar 21, 07
post a reply
Omar
Omar: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine @Erik, I'm the last person that would downplay the role of technology. However, there have been happy people since the beginning of time, technology isn't a requirement. But we're getting off-track here. I should admit that I'm bringing into this discussion reservations and issues I have with the whole concept of 3rd world, and that we in the 1st have to help them. I'm not saying we should all slit our wrists over the guilt of the sins of our past, but we have to recognize that the current inequality of the world is based upon hundreds of years of colonial rule, and these band-aid solutions are unlikely to make a significant impact. If we stopped supporting the Bad people in the world because it's convenient and cheap and start supporting the Good then we're talking. That's why I love the whole fair-trade thing. Empower the people to help themselves, don't shower them with pity-charity. Of course OLPC is directly under this empowerment right? Well... we'll see. I definitely hope so!

@Amanie. Seen a computer? are you crazy? Get outside of your cozy computer office for a second and see the kids that are picking through the trash to find a bit of scrap they can attach onto their shantytown shanty.

I guess here's my major issue. The kids that'll benefit from the OLPC are the ones that are already in schools with teachers and books etc. It's the ones that haven't been reached, the ones that aren't being touched yet that need the most help. It's a matter of marginal benefit. Dec 11, 06
post a reply
Erik
Erik: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine Maybe OLPC can team up with Jimbo Wales and Wikipedia to bring knowledge to impoverished countries. Instead of printing Wikipedia, load it on each of these laptops. No Internet required. Every child in Africa could have access to invaluable information for less than a dollar a day. I choose this route over some missionary solutions that are laced with a understated requirement of conversion to Christianity. Don't couple help with an agenda. Dec 11, 06
post a reply
Amanie
Amanie: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine @Omar, I see your point about the unforeseen social implications of a newly introduced technology, but I don't think that's the case here. First of all, computers are not "new", in all likelihood most children have seen or at least heard of a computer and can at least understand why and how they would be used. Second of all, the intention to get children access to a technology that furthers education is almost always the right way to go. Dec 11, 06
post a reply
Erik
Erik: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine I guess this is really a debate about technological progress and whether or not it improves our lives. Do you think that it does? Were we happier when we were hunter/gatherers? Is being happy paramount? What's the point of life? What happened before the Big Bang? Who am I? Do I exist? Dec 11, 06
post a reply
Omar
Omar: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine I've known about the OLPC for over a year now, it's not a very new thing. My issues aren't with the concept. I think that education is one of the biggest forces of social change, and instead of purchasing expensive and heavy text books, this laptop is actually cheaper and has access to virtually unlimited books. My skepticism revolves around unseen social factors that the laptops will introduce. Communities are ecosystems, and just like any other ecosystem when you introduce a foreign element to it, there can be disastrous consequences. In the social setting there's the example of when a well was installed in a village, and a few months later the village's women started committing suicide. Dec 11, 06
post a reply
Erik
Erik: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine @Omar. Why so critical so early? Let them try. Don't put a stop to positive efforts by dooming them to failure before they've even tried. Heck, they've almost met their goal of creating a $100 laptop. Dec 11, 06
post a reply
Erik
Erik: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine They have a page on the wiki letting you know how you can get involved. [link] Dec 11, 06
post a reply
Omar
Omar: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Of course I'd love to see this initiative succeed and have a major positive effect on the world, I'm just highly skeptical. Dec 11, 06
post a reply
maverickphreak
maverickphreak: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine How can we support getting this machine into children's hands? Dec 11, 06
post a reply
Erik
Erik: #xo_1_the_children_s_machine I'm impressed with the feature set, technology and industrial design of this humanitarian product. And it's all being produced for $100. Amazing! Dec 9, 06
post a reply

You may also like...