Playpower.org aims to introduce the world’s cheapest computer programs to the poor by utilizing the technology of old 8 bit computers. The Apple II computer, which had its heyday in the 1970s in the West, has lived on in the developing world, where its technology is now open source and easy to manufacture. As a result, computers can be sold for as little as $12.
Many of these systems are currently on sale as “TV computers” in Bombay, Bangalore, and Nicaragua, offering pirated, low-tech versions of games like Mario and Donkey Kong. Like the early home computers sold in the United States, they plug into a TV screen for display, making them an easy access technology.
Playerpower.org is writing simple education programs to accompany these systems, ranging from math and simple science programs to computer programming and language learning.
Playpower.org has the potential to have far greater impact than the One Laptop Per Child Campaign (http://laptop.org/en/), which has attracted controversy for enabling proprietary Microsoft software on its computers.