This news from the UN this week gives a window into the future of global access to information. According to the news released, MIT and Wired magazine want to give very child in the world a laptop computer that costs next to nothing.
Says Digital Divide Network, "If tech luminary Nicholas Negroponte has his way, the pale light from rugged, hand-cranked $100 laptops will illuminate homes in villages and townships throughout the developing world, and give every child on the planet a computer of their own by 2010. The MIT Media Lab and Wired magazine founder stood shoulder to shoulder with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to unveil the first working prototype of the "$100 laptop" — currently more like $110 — at the U.N. World Summit on the Information Society here Wednesday. The Linux-based machine instantly became the hit of the show, and Thursday saw diplomats and dignitaries, reporters and TV cameras perpetually crowded around the booth of One Laptop Per Child — Negroponte’s nonprofit — craning for a glimpse of the toy-like tote. With its cheery green coloring and Tonka-tough shell, the laptop certainly looks cool. It boasts a 7-inch screen that swivels like a tablet PC, and an electricity-generating crank that provides 40 minutes of power from a minute of grinding. Built-in Wi-Fi with mesh networking support, combined with a microphone, speaker and headset jack, even means the box can serve as a node in an ersatz VOIP phone system."
More information can be found at the UN web site.