While there are solar powered laptops that will allow a computer to be powered without an energy source, not everyone may be able to afford them. There was always the hope that there would be an affordable way for people in poorer and very remote areas to be able to benefit from the uses of a computer and there finally is because of the pedal powered laptop in Afghanistan. Pedal power laptop is a pedal powered machine that uses nothing but pedal power to operate the laptop. The system is set up so that just about anyone with two legs would be able to power the laptop and they claim that even a third grader can step up to the pedal power laptop computer and get to work with no problems.
The computer model itself is called the XO and uses a hand crank to power the system. The pedal powered laptop needs no additional power sources at all and it easily transported through the countryside and rural areas where people may not have access to a computer or the power sources to run one traditionally. While this is only a prototype, they seem to be having some initial success and may expand the program even further if testing shows more positive results.
The pedal power laptop is meant to allow children in schools to be able to have computer access. The prototype is actually hooked up so that the hand crank generator is underneath the desk for the children to use while they are seated at their desk. In addition, they are using software that would enable the students to basically be on a common server.
The system that they are using is the OpenWRT Freifunk router firmware. This provides a connection throughout the classroom with no cable connections and will also enable them to expand the network to other classrooms as well. It may even go past the school walls, which would enable any child with this system in their home to be able to connect as well. Imagine a child that missed a day of school because of being ill still able to attend class remotely.
The whole model is currently under observation and there are about 2,500 of the prototype computers in circulation in different parts of Kabul, Heart and Jalalabad. They success of the system will be evaluated and tweaked as needed to create a successful learning environment without the need for power for the computers.