The Media Lab at MIT has come up with a brilliant way to make sure children all over the world will have access to technology. Specifications for a $100 wind-up powered laptop were announced today through Media Lab cofounder Nicholas Negroponte, though the original proposal was discussed at the Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland. Hoping to work with his nonprofit group called One Laptop Per Child, Negroponte is in discussions with developing countries like Brazil, Egypt and South Africa to give out up to 15 million test systems to children. The design for the super cheap computer calls for a 500MHz processor, 1GB memory and dual-mode display that could be used in color or black-and-white sunlight-readable mode. Power will be either a wind-up crank (as mentioned) on the side of the computer, conventional electric current or even batteries. Also included is WiFi, four USB ports and something called "mesh networking," that will let many machines share a single Internet connection. The five companies chipping in with MIT to develop the initial 5 million computers are Google, Advanced Micro Devices, News Corp., Red Hat and BrightStar.

The $100 laptop moves closer to reality [CNET]