Indian designers have announced plans to launch a laptop that will cost an astonishing $10 (500 Rupees).
A prototype of the computer, to be known as Sakshat, (meaning ‘before your eyes’), will shortly be showcased by the Indian government as the centerpiece of an ambitious e-learning programme linking 18,000 colleges and 400 universities across the sub-continent.
The intention is that the laptop will revolutionize student access to lectures, coursework and specialist help as part of a new Rs46bn “national mission for education.”
According to Prabhakar Rao, vice-chancellor of the university in Andhra Pradesh, where the Sakshat will be launched, the government is “looking to get the hardware and software cheaper. In a developing country, costs have to be kept low so that the maximum number of students will benefit. That means cheap computers and cheap broadband access, so that students get access to e-books and e-journals.”
The Sakshat was designed by scientists at the Vellore Institute of Technology, the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras and the state-controlled Semiconductor Complex. It features 2GB of RAM, as well as wireless connectivity. In an attempt to keep costs low, experts say it is unlikely to use Microsoft Windows software.
Authors Note – Since the news was released by the Indian government, there has been speculation, now confirmed by the Times of India, that instead of a stand-alone laptop, the Sakshat is in fact only a ‘computing device.’ However, it has also been announced that the machine could form the ‘backbone’ of a laptop costing around $60.
Image Credit – One Laptop Per Child via flickr on a Creative Commons license
Andrew is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.