New computer technology is paving the way for children in developing countries to join the rest of the wired world. VOA's Paige Kollock reports.
The computer is called the "Green Machine." It was demonstrated this week at the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia. The rubber-encased laptop runs on power generated from a wind-up crank.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan praised the development of the hundred dollar laptop, calling it an expression of global solidarity.
"It holds a promise of major advances in economic and social development. But perhaps most important, is the true meaning of one laptop per child. This is not just a matter of giving a laptop to a child, as bestowing on them some magical charm. The magic light within, within a child, within each scientist, scholar or just plain citizen in the making."
The prototype was developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It will allow children to play games and communicate with one another, but its primary purpose is education.
MIT's Michael Negroponte says the goal was to manufacture a cheap, user-friendly product.
"And every technical breakthrough that is made over the next five years will be to the child's benefit, getting the cost lower and lower and lower. So, what we've done is, we've built a machine that is very robust and that uses very little power."
Negroponte hopes the "Green Machine" will allow every child in developing countries to have their own computer. Though no laptops have been manufactured yet, he says a working model will be ready by February, after which, it will be introduced in six countries across the world. Several governments have already expressed interest in the computers, even though the program stipulates they must commit to purchasing a million "Green machines" to participate.