CG was bringing some attention to Yves Behar and fuseproject. One of the examples used as a good reason for his attention was the OLPC design:
This is one of those designs where I question the design. I believe feature-wise, and its purpose is bang on. However I tend to question the aesthetic. What I question is does it match the device’s purpose?
This is intended to be an inexpensive (under $100) computer for children all over the world to be able to use. Having been to areas where this is intended to be used the aesthetic doesn’t match. For a lack of better word, it is over-stylized. Will something that looks “cool” become a beacon for theft? Remember, this is being used in areas where parapalegics get thrown from their wheelchairs so the thieves can use the chair as a wheelbarrow!!!
Functionally, there are 4 hinges (if you count each antenna “ear” as each having a hinge). Africa in particular is innundated with pervasive red dirt. The stuff gets EVERYWHERE.
you’re absolutely correct, it appears to have no connection to its stated purpose. I think most of these designed items for the 3rd world, “bringing technology to the worlds kids”, are design and media exercises for their creators.
Most kids either walk or bus it to schools, if they go. This pretty computer will be dropped, banged around, etc. Kids play on the ground, in the dust and dirt, if they’re lucky in the shade under a tree. The keypad and hinges would not survive one day before they’re filthy, broken, missing pieces and jammed: note not or, and meaning all of them. And, that’s if the kids still have it; something like this has a 100% chance of being stolen and sold for some dagga and banana beer!
i’m not so sure the laptops will be “given” to children to keep and take home and so forth… i would guess they will be kept in educational settings such schools… increasing their life span significantly… i believe the chosen format of a laptop is in line with what is happening in developed countries stepping away from the desktop workstation…
[quote=“madhero”]i’m not so sure the laptops will be “given” to children to keep and take home and so forth… i would guess they will be kept in educational settings such schools… increasing their life span significantly… i believe the chosen format of a laptop is in line with what is happening in developed countries stepping away from the desktop workstation…
i just want to see how the power crank works…[/quote]
I agree that these computers will be schools/libraries and the like. As far as the antennas, I think the design is appropriate because it better to have thick studs than something thinner. Also if this computer is made of strong durable plastic and reinforced more so than the average like the Panasonic kind, it could stand falls.
Even if this stays in the schools, I am not convinced this works as madhero thinks it will. But that is not my understanding. The numbers they are talking about (!BILLIONS!) is more indicative of a full fledged dispersal to kids for more than just school use.
I would love to read the brief for this program. Only fuseproject and the OLPC Project will know 100% what the intention is.
Oh, and let’s put this up for discussion as well. Having been to Tanzanian schools and seen the environment first hand where these will be used…it doesn’t matter if these are in schools. Unless there is an armed guard these things are a beacon for theft.
For the record, I am an absolute fan of the OLPC project. I just see a disconnect between the Aesthetic and Functional Design and the Usage Scenario.
I played with one for a week, and the thing was unbelievably durable–much more so than the OLPC.
Have you played with the OLPC? Let’s not cast stones at the device. I look at the OLPC and it LOOKS like it isn’t durable. But looks can be deceiving. Which, ironically, enhances my belief that there is a disconnect. If this thing is durable, but looks like a toy, is that a good design decision?
Ironically I think a lot of that cute stuff held up better, as the rugged surfaces and materials wore a lot nicer over time than the pristine surfaces of the “serious” retro Dieter Rams Mac era… still my biggest complaint with those guys… one week lout of the box the stuff looks 5 years old… sorry for the hyper digression ip_
I think the previous era stuff was more impressive design-wise. (More thoughtful styling per square inch.) The current era is more impressive manufacturing-wise (details.) Aesthetically I prefer the newer designs because like most, I crave simplicity and elegance, and I think they’ve accomplished that masterfully.
Mary Lou Jepsen, the XO laptop’s designer and OLPC’s CTO, split from the project a little over a week ago to “commercialize” some of the tech she developed for the projectâ€”the display in particularâ€”through a for-profit venture, Pixel-Qi. Probable result: a new generation of OLPC competitors from commercial outfits. But it gets better! It’s come out Pixel-Qi’s aiming to completely undercut the OLPC with a 75 dollar laptop.
while software has been good in the past at pushing moore’s law, are we finally getting to the point where technology has a real chance of staying relevant for more than 18 months? who really needs today’s high end computer? gamers? consoles don’t lag behind like they used too. MMO’s have done a good job of keeping computers relevant to a large population, but my guess is that won’t last.
CAD, motion gfx, video, what else actually uses 100% processing power? number crunching?
For the layperson who wants to do some text editing, look at images and surf the web w/o flash, there is no need for anything more than a 80 mhz 486 running DOS and Win 3.x. I would think there are enough Pentium I-PIII out there in the scrap heap to GIVE every child in the world a computer. All they need is a cranking power supply and a low consumption monitor. Oh that, and some free passwords to p0rn. Oh wait, as we’ve seen, they found those on their own.
I’ve got an OLPC, and I’ve gotta say it’s tougher than it looks. Its keyboard is rubber-ish and has no crevices for dirt or water or whatever else to get in. The computer can def be tossed around without getting damaged.
As far as the software goes, the programs and OS are not what I would call intuitive. I wasn’t able to just open the computer and explore what it had to offer. Maybe thats just because it was so foreign to me, having used mac os/osx and windows my whole life. For kids who have never used computers before, I’m not too sure how easy it is to learn. But after awhile, the comp started to grow on me. It is jam packed with programs and games for every age. But I do have to say that many adults would have a hard time using it just because the keys are so incredibly small.
The OLPC has a lot to offer (especially considering its price), and if its OS was a little more user-friendly, it’d be even better. It’s definitely the start to bringing more advanced technology to 3rd-world countries.