“Now we in the developed world want something that people in the developing world have. I like that idea!”Yves Behar on One Lap Top Per Child

When the idea of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) — popularly known as $100 Laptop — was first announced in 2005, nobody thought it was possible. Two years later in November 2007 the little computer that could went into mass production in China, and is now called the XO laptop.

The powerful idea behind OLPC goes back to 1982 (!) when Nicolas Negroponte and Seymour Papert distributed Apple II microcomputers to school children in a suburb of Dakar, Senegal.

This initiative confirmed Papert’s central assumption: children in remote, rural, and poor regions of the world take to computers as easily and naturally as children anywhere.

GreenerGadget Conference

The XO laptop is one of the most celebrated products in the upcoming GreenerGadget Conference, which is hosted by Inhabitat, Business Week and Core77. For the contest, ScribeMedia is building a green gadget design contest where contestants and participants can upload ideas and plans for the next great green design.

Feel free to contact us about the contest site launch.

Almost 20 years later technology has caught up with the idea and we are witnessing one of the most revolutionary experiments take place.

The XO laptop is packed with features that make those of us with MacBook Pros, Toughbooks and HP Tablets a bit jealous. XO has a screen that you can use in direct sunlight, it’s light, compact and strong. It consumes so little energy that it can be charged with solar panels, cranks and foot pedals!

The OLPC team is headed by Nicolas Negroponte (the founder of MIT lab) and consists of leading mathematicians, programmers, psychologists, engineers, musician/activists, businessmen and humanitarians.

The man responsible for the look and feel of the final shell that encapsulates all this wonderful technology is an industrial designer. The product design is supposed to seduce two unlikely groups: politicians and children.

The XO laptop is intended for purchase by governments and free distribution in local schools, hence politicians have to be seduced. The children need to be seduced so they love to learn with the XO, and later in life lead their countries out of poverty.

The task of creating the shell of the seductive gadget fell on the shoulders of Yves Behar and Fuseproject. Behar put to use his principals of emotional design and storytelling in design, and turned out a product that is generating widespread excitement.

We met Yves Behar during Design Miami 2007. The video above is the product of this meeting and gives a glance into what it means to design a toy created to end poverty in the world.

The XO laptop has been named the greenest computer ever made and is the hottest gadget on Inhabitat’s gift guide. (The general public can buy the XO lap top until December 31st. If you do, you actually buy two: one for your child and the other as a donation to a child in the developing world.)

We filmed this interview using the Panasonic AG-HSC1 high definition camera.