07 January 2008

OLPC XO-1 Exposed

The OLPC XO-1 project has been something of a roller-coaster ride. Widely praised when it launched, and then progressively pooh-poohed (including by me) as the wrong solution, more recently praised once more for the execution of the underlying idea, and finally put in doubt following Intel's rather suspect ship-jumping.

For what it's worth, in the light of the reality, rather the idea, I've changed my view: the OLPC XO-1 really seems to serve its intended audience well, and to be a well-desinged bit of kit. Confirming that is this splendid deconstruction by arch-hacker Andrew "bunnie" Huang , founder of the similarly-spirited Chumby project:

If I were to make one general comment about the OLPC XO-1, it’s that its mechanical design is brilliant. It’s a fairly clean-sheet redesign of traditional notebook PC mechanics around the goal of survivability, serviceability, and robustness (then again, I’ve never taken apart any of the ruggedized notebooks out there). When closed up for “travel”, all the ports are covered, and the cooling system is extremely simple so it should survive in dusty and dirty environments. Significantly, the port coverings aren’t done with rubberized end caps that you can lose or forget to put on–they are done using the wifi antennae, and the basic design causes the user to swivel them back to cover the ports when they are packing up the laptop to go. That’s thoughtful design.

If you're interested in what makes innovative hardware tick, don't miss this fascinating exploration. (Via Boing Boing.)


The Open Sourcerer said...

If you want to come to BETT in Olympia this week. We'll have a couple of OLPCs to demonstrate.




glyn moody said...

Alas, I won't be able to make this: I hope you have a good show.