Skip to main content

OLPC to Drop Tablets from Sky in Developing Countries

The One Laptop Per Child Foundation has been around for years, providing children in the developing world with cheap and cheerful laptops for educational purposes. The company recently graduated from small, low-cost laptops, to small, low-cost tablets and this week at the Open Mobile summit, OLPC announced plans to try something a little different with regard to deploying these tablets.

PCMag reports that while speaking at the Open Mobile summit, OLPC founder and chairman Nicholas Negroponte revealed that the company was planning to airdrop shipments of the XO tablet into remote villages and return 12 months later to see how things panned out. The idea behind this approach is a 'hands-off' method of education; give the children the tablets and then leave them to figure out the devices and teach themselves to read.

"We will literally take tablets and drop them out of helicopters," he said, adding that "literally" no adults or staff will accompany the electronics. "When I say I drop out of the helicopters, I mean it... it's like a Coke bottle falling out of the sky," PCMag quotes him as saying, the Coke bottle falling from the sky being a reference to the '80s movie 'The Gods Must Be Crazy.'

Of course, while there are positives to leaving the children and tablets to their own devices, there is a risk that the tablets will be stolen before the kids even know they were dropped. However, it seems Negroponte is not worried about such a scenario:

"Adults may be able to steal it, but they won't be able to use it ... maybe an older brother will get a hold of it, use it for pornography - that's life," Negroponte said.