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Last Updated: Monday, 14 January 2008, 10:33 GMT
One Laptop to set up US project
Uruguayan schoolboy using XO laptop, AFP
Some children have already begun using the XO laptop
The One Laptop Per Child project is turning its attention to children in the United States.

The XO laptop developed by the OLPC was conceived to boost educational efforts in developing nations.

Now the OLPC has set up a US office and has begun talking to state governments about ways to get the laptop into the hands of the poorest American children.

The organisation said it would formally launch its XO programme in America later in 2008.

Spending plan

The One Laptop project was begun by former MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte with the aim of helping poorer nations bridge the digital divide.

The program has developed the rugged XO laptop that was originally supposed to cost $100 so it could be ordered in large numbers by governments. The final version came in at $188 (93).

In a video interview posted to the One Laptop site Professor Negroponte said: "2008, for us, is a big change because up to now we have been more like a terrorist group, threatening to do something and making big claims."

"2008 is where we become not a revolution but a civilisation and we actually roll out laptops within countries," he said.

This year will also see the start of a planned programme to reach some of the poorer children in the US. This American office for the OLPC already has a director and chairman, said Prof Negroponte and was already letting state governments know about its plans.

The US was not originally included in the OLPC programme because of the relative wealth of even poor parts of America compared to many developing nations.

Speaking to the IDG News service Prof Negroponte pointed out that US spending on each child at primary school was about $10,000 compared to only $20 in Bangladesh.

Many Americans can also afford to buy their children more expensive laptops too, said Prof Negroponte.

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