The founder of OLPC is Nicholas Negroponte, a civil architect and computer scientist best known as the founder and Chairman Emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab. (He is the younger brother of John Negroponte, United States Director of National Intelligence.)
Nicholas Negroponte wants to give every school child in the developing world a laptop computer. He has established the non-profit organization OLPC to design and produce $100 laptops for sale to governments in quantities of no less than 1 million machines on the condition that they are given to school children.
Negroponte feels the solution to any large world problem – peace, poverty, the environment, etc. – involves education, and he sees this as an education project that happens to use computers as a tool. The project is grounded in the studies of Seymour Papert, a pioneer in computing for children and the inventor of the Logo programming language. Negroponte and Papert have worked with computers in schools in developing nations since 1988.
At half the size of a conventional laptop PC (see photo), these machines are meant to serve those children who may live far from power stations and in often harsh climates. The rugged little computers have streamlined hardware, open source software and uses low-energy CPUs. Early estimates on UV lifetime of the LCD screens are encouraging and OLPC is now more confident that their target of 22K-hour lifetime can be achieved even under harsh conditions, such as the Libyan desert.
From One Laptop per Child:
Introducing the children's laptop from One Laptop per Child—a potent learning tool created expressly for the world's poorest children living in its most remote environments. The laptop was designed collaboratively by experts from both academia and industry, bringing to bear both extraordinary talent and many decades of collective field experience in every aspect of this non-profit humanitarian project. The result is a unique harmony of form and function; a flexible, ultra low-cost, power-efficient, responsive, and durable machine with which nations of the emerging world can leapfrog decades of development—immediately transforming the content and quality of their children's learning.