The founder of the MIT Media Lab, Nicholas Negroponte pushed the edge of the information revolution as an inventor, thinker and angel investor. Now he's the driving force behind One Laptop per Child, building computers for children in the developing world.
A pioneer in the field of computer-aided design, Negroponte was perhaps best known for founding and directing MIT's Media Lab, which helped drive the multimedia revolution and now houses more than 500 researchers and staff. An original investor in WIRED (and the magazine's "patron saint"), for five years he penned a column exploring the frontiers of technology -- ideas that he expanded into his 1995 best-selling book Being Digital. An angel investor extraordinaire, he's funded more than 40 startups, and served on the boards of companies such as Motorola and Ambient Devices.
But his latest effort, the One Laptop per Child project, may prove his most ambitious. The organization is manufacturing the XO (the "$100 laptop"), a wireless Internet-enabled, pedal-powered computer costing roughly $100. Negroponte hopes to put millions of these devices in the hands of the children in the developing world by 2010. Most recently, OLPC has managed to put an XO laptop in the hands of every schoolkid in Uruguay.
"If Nicholas Negroponte can achieve his ambition of distributing $100 laptops to the world's disadvantaged children, he will help redefine philanthropy and see his name added to a list alongside the likes of Carnegie, Ford and Rockefeller."Technology Review
“Everybody agrees that whatever the solutions are to the big problems, they … can never be without some element of education.”
“When you meet a head of state, and you say, ‘What is your most precious natural resource?’ they will not say children at first, and then when you say, ‘children,’ they will pretty quickly agree with you.”