Skip to Content

The OLPC Linux Based Laptop Wins International Design Award

The OLPC Linux Based Laptop Wins International Design Award
"COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Yesterday, the Linux based One Laptop Per Child was presented an INDEX: AWARD for winning the Community category. The INDEX: AWARD is presented every other year, and in addition to the glory, each award comes with a €100 000 prize. INDEX: AWARD operates with five categories, which refer to the context for which the designs are intended: body, home, work, play and community.
99 % of children in developing countries leave school without having touched a computer. Without a computer-literate population, developing countries will continue to struggle to compete in a rapidly evolving, global information economy. The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) foundation aims to provide every child in developing countries with a laptop, but given the resources that developing countries can reasonably allocate to education, the design team behind the XO, also known as the $100 laptop, had to create an affordable, yet technically advanced solution.
The XO Laptop is about the size of a textbook and lighter than a lunchbox, making it easy for children to carry. XO is designed to be used in parts of the world where many classes are taught outside, and therefore it is sunlight-readable as well as shock and moisture resistant. In order for students to interact, a mobile ad-hoc network allows many machines to gain internet access from one connection and a maze-network connects all the laptops within reach. The XO can be hand-powered and comes with at least two of three options: A crank, a pedal, or a pull-cord. Plus, it features enhanced battery management for an extended recharge-cycle lifetime.
Yves Behar OLPC Designer
"Great design is a way to tell people that you value them," said Yves Behar, a Swiss designer who was part of the team behind the "XO" portable computer. Yves will donate the prize money to the OLPC.
OLPC have collaborated with several leading designers on the XO laptop, including Pentagram, Design Continuum and fuseproject. At the INDEX: AWARD ceremony in Copenhagen, INDEX: jury member Arnold Wasserman, chairman of the Idea Factory, praised the work of the cross disciplinary design team: "This team has applied the most admirable of all designer hallmarks; addressing a real need by refusing to accept that there was no available solution to the problem."
OLPC Chairman Nicholas Negroponte was pleased to have been recognized for emphasizing design in parallel with low cost. "There are two ways to make an inexpensive anything. One is to take cheap components, cheap labour, plus cheap design, to make a "cheap" product. The other is to use advanced manufacturing, large scale integration, very big quantities, plus good design, to make a low cost, high quality device. We focused exclusively on the latter and deeply appreciate being awarded the prize for it," said Negroponte.
The OLPC team consisted of Rebecca Allen, Christopher Blizzard, V. Michael Bove, Yves Behar, Walter Bender, Michail Bletsas, Mark Foster, Jacques Gagne, Mary Lou Jepsen, Nicholas Negroponte and Lisa Strausfeld.
Already, nations like Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Thailand and Uruguay have committed to buy the XO for their schoolchildren and the first laptops will roll of the assembly lines in October. Prices currently start at $135-175 USD, and the goal is to reach the $100 USD mark in 2008."
"The INDEX: Award does not categorize design according to traditional labels - visual design, apparel and industrial design - since these categories do not fully reflect the interdisciplinary approach employed in most interesting modern design. INDEX: asks that the nomination bodies think horizontally, across design categories and industries, when selecting their nominees for the five categories vital to human life; BODY, HOME, WORK, PLAY and COMMUNITY.
The winning designs are chosen by an international jury consisting of leading designers, design researchers, design writers and design thinkers from Europe, Asia and the U.S. All jury members have a great deal of professional experience from broad areas of the design industry and wide ranging experience from other internationally recognized juries.
Also, the focus on Design to Improve Life differentiates the INDEX: Award from other design awards, as design is evaluated in a much broader sense than traditionally, focusing not only on form, but also on the context of the design, e.g. ethical and cultural considerations, and impact, including the number of people affected, sustainability and level of innovation."