[Olpc-open] documentary

Mel Chua metamel at gmail.com
Mon Jun 4 00:18:02 EDT 2007

The Design Squad <http://pbskids.org/designsquad/> TV show (think junkyard
wars but with high school students) is interested in doing an episode with
OLPC. This would kick off some professional documentary work on at least one
aspect of the project (whatever the design squads work on), be great media
exposure to a younger age group (and a good entry point for us to plug that
students can get involved in making their own stuff for the XO), and
generally just be cool.

The catch? We need to pitch project ideas to them to convince them
to actually do the episode. From an email: "Basically the quesiton everyone
had about OLPC is what exactly could the teams make - and that it would be
interesting to film and air...."

So... it's brainstorming time. Shoot off as many ideas as you can - design
challenges that can be built by teams of high school kids in less than a
week and would look real exciting on public tv. People they could talk to,
places they could build at, anything. I'll compile the results on Wed.
night. (I've asked for more specific criteria to aim for while making a
design challenge and will let you know when they respond.)


Here's a couple to kick off:

- gaming peripherals (give them the innards of a joystick, have them design
the mechanical part... maybe even specify that it be a full-body controller)

- simply hand each team a laptop and say here, take this group of local ESL
6th graders and make something with and for them involving the laptop.

- chargers (I know they're already being worked on by everyone, but...)
Build a human-powered device that can be used by an elementary school kid to
get max wattage into a laptop in the minimum amount of time (and use a
couple of local kids from different age groups as testers - make the teams
explain how to use their devices to someone else). This could be quite
entertaining to film - students pulling frantically on ripcords, pedaling
like crazy, using lab equipment to figure out the strength and energy
generated from various muscle groups and their range of motion, etc. Score
would be based on total wattage generated from all the tester kids, on
compact size, and on ease of manufacture (not sure how to quickly score that
one, though).
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