Although our class has thought Nicholas Negroponte, the project innovator for One Laptop Per Child, to have dubious business methods, the designer behind the project is working towards the completion of multiple innovative projects. Swiss designer Yves Behar is the visionary behind the Jawbone Jambox sound system, SAYL chairs, Swarovski chandeliers, and New York City’s free condoms.
Yves Behar was approached by Negroponte six years ago with hopes of producing an “inexpensive and impeccably designed laptop for children across the world.” In class, we discussed countless problems of the laptop and the pros and cons of a government purchasing these laptops and implementing them into school curriculums. As many of the laptops are delivered to countries who lack the proper infrastructure to have dependable power systems, Behar’s newest design is a huge improvement.
The newest model of OLPC, the XO-3 tablet, is a $100 solar-powered tablet. It is lighter, has a bendable screen, and solar panels allow the laptop to charge in sunlight. Negroponte claims that technology is “in some sense more integral than food and water” because “with education, you can actually solve the water problem and energy problems, and, you know, the health problems.” Although I doubt that this is entirely true, the new models of the laptop make the purchase of laptops a more fiscally responsible purchase for governments, as they do not break as easily, cost less, and do not need a steady power supply in order to function. There are still a plethora of problems with the OLCP project, but the lower priced, more efficient tablets are a step in the right direction for the expansion of technology availability and knowledge.
In addition to this project, Behar is also currently involved in designing an array of low cost, visually appealing eye glasses for children in Mexico and South America.