OLPC experiments with cow-powered laptops ... seriously

OLPC is experimenting with a cow-powered device to generate electricity for its low-cost XO laptop.

The One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC) is toying with a novel source of power for its low-cost XO laptops: cows.

"We plan to drive a dynamo (taken from an old Fiat) through a system of belts and pulleys using cows/cattle," wrote OLPC's Arjun Sarwal, in an e-mail dated October 21 and posted to one of the group's discussion lists.

Sarwal and others are now finalizing the design of the cow-powered generator.

The goal is to develop a low-cost energy source that can be used in Indian villages. Working in a village close to Mumbai, Sarwal said the group considered using solar energy but sunlight near Mumbai was not "consistently strong." There was not enough wind or running water nearby to use these as sources of power, and the cost of running a gas-powered motor was too high.

"But the village had an abundance of cattle that were being used in the fields. So we decided to design something around that," Sarwal wrote in a subsequent e-mail.

The dynamo used in the system was taken from a Fiat car that is commonly used as taxis in Mumbai and therefore both cheap and readily available.

OLPC is close to putting its XO laptop into production, but has been beset by delays and rising costs. Originally intended to cost US$100 each, the cost has since risen to nearly US$200. And production is also moving slowly.

After a trial production run in August, OLPC had hoped to start mass production in late September or early October. That date has now slipped to November 12, according to a Reuters reportthat quoted the group's chief technology officer, Mary Lou Jepsen.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sumner Lemon

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?