We all know how the One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC) is supposed to make computing accessible to everyone, regardless of their race, creed, religion, or economic status. While the majority of us take electric power for granted, take note that there are still places on this earth that do not have electric power yet, hence having to rely on more natural sources to keep themselves warm during the night. Looks like the One Laptop Per Child Project is currently considering a novel source of biological power for its extremely cheap XO laptops – cows.
According to Arjun Sarwal of OLPC, “We plan to drive a dynamo (taken from an old Fiat) through a system of belts and pulleys using cows/cattle”. It seems that the final details of this radical cow-powered generator are currently being worked out, where the ultimate goal would result in a low-cost energy source that can be used in Indian villages. Since Sarwal works in a village that is located near to Mumbai, the group did consider using solar energy before but the sunlight in that area wasn’t strong enough on a consistent basis to provide the necessary power needed. In addition, wind and running water in the vicinity were insufficient to generate an ample amount of energy, leaving them with little choice other than to harness these milk producing beasts.
This decision was reached after considering the high cost of running a gas-powered motor. In a statement, Arjun mentioned that “But the village had an abundance of cattle that were being used in the fields. So we decided to design something around that”. The dynamo in question is taken from a Fiat car since those can be found in abundance in Mumbai. Sounds like a novel idea – what about those living in the Himalayas? Are they going to use yaks instead?