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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 12:21 GMT
Big future for XO laptop technology
$100 laptop screen
The screen is designed to be highly energy-efficient
The pioneering technology which helped make the $100 laptop a reality will soon be coming to a number of other electronic devices such as mobile phones and digital cameras.

The $100 laptop was developed with advanced LCD screens that can be seen more easily in strong sunlight and require less energy to run, to make them suitable for the places in the developing world they are targeted at.

These screens were invented by Mary Lou Jepsen, who told BBC World Service's Digital Planet programme that she now plans to capitalise on her invention in the for-profit arena alongside non-profit.

"I guess this has been a long-standing and well-planned transition," she said.

"The laptop is now shipping in high-volume mass production, and it's time to do the next generation laptop.

"[OLPC's] Nicholas Negroponte has always said it not a laptop project, it's an education project. But from where I sit as chief technology officer, it looks very much like a laptop project... I've realised that the best way I can help OLPC is to spin out low-cost innovative hardware that OLPC can use in the future."


Ms Jepsen said that she was "pretty much a hardware chick" and that she felt that now the laptops had been launched, the project had gone beyond her area of expertise.

She would now licence her screen innovation to OLPC at cost, while the same technology can now be bought by technology companies to go into their own laptops, PDAs, and other objects.

Mary Lou Jepsen
Everyone wrote myself and Nicholas off three years ago, when I started the design of the $100 laptop
Mary Lou Jepsen
"In hardware, if you can make more of the same object, it's cheaper - so OLPC benefits, and then all the people that want them in their products can have them too," she said.

"I developed the technology as an employee of OLPC, taking a pay cut - this was not for the benefit of me.

"I've created a licensing structure where OLPC and the children of the world benefit through me licensing the technology. I happen to be the inventor as well, but I'm not getting access to the IP by virtue of being its inventor."

Until recently, Intel were one of the key partners of the OLPC project, but last week announced that that they were withdrawing funding and technical help due to "philosophical" differences.

Ms Jensen declined to comment on the split.

She did, however, highlight the way the pioneering laptop had been developed.

"Everyone wrote myself and Nicholas off three years ago, when I started the design of the $100 laptop," she said.

"When manufactures would meet with me, I'd be the entertainment of their day - 'ha ha ha, $100 laptop, it'll never work.'

"But I'd learn something at every meeting and put together a decent design that held water, and convince them to go forward... with more risks, you get more innovative products. I think that's what computing can be."

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