Early in our trip, I was amazed by the technology the three of us brought on the road. We were a veritable computer and video production lab on wheels. I even took a photo to prove it.
But the technology that soon became the buzz that followed us around was the 100 dollar laptop.
We were lucky to have one with us, thanks to Brewster Kahle from the Internet Archive. Each time we demonstrated the 100 dollar laptop, eyes widened, and imaginations soared. Just holding the laptop makes you smile. It reminded me of an etch-a-sketch; it's sturdy and fun-looking and made for kids. And that was the MIT Media Lab's intent: build a kid-friendly computer for the world's children. (check out more on that topic, below.)
We loved showing folks in rural communities this cute little computer. It truly is a marvel: impeccably designed and marvelously packed with innovations. The antennae "ears" to access a wireless signal, the open source software, the small display, the screen that pivots into a tablet, or e-book ready format, the child-ready keyboard and buttons, and the screen--> even in full sunlight, you could view the screen, no problem. That feature always garnered ooohs and ahhhs. And then we shared that the 100 Dollar Laptop we had was the first version--the most current iteration has a hand crank, powered by muscle, not electricity. By the time we arrived at the Oysters & Ale fundraiser for wi-fi at Humboldt County Library, academics, politicians, and other community members were flocking to the bookmobile for a chance to see this little wonder.
Whatever your thoughts may be about supplying third world countries with technology, the capacity to dream and build something so thoughtful is pretty inspiring.