Laptops undoubtaby are an important source of knowledge and education, yet much of the worlds population does not have access to this technology. To promote education within developing countries the one laptop per child (OLPC) organization has attempted to produce laptops cheaply for distribution to these areas. One major inhibitor to this goal is the lack of an energy grid in areas where these laptops would be used. In Fall 2008 at Iowa State University Brice lead a team of students development of an off the grid charger.
Researching the needs of all stakeholders, including the user, the team sought a safe, small and light weight charger which required physical force small enough for a child while efficiently meeting laptop power requirements. Multiple prototypes where then proposed, however a foot petal design in Image 1 and Image 2 was pursued do to its superior cost, weight and efficiency over other designs as well as its hands free design for simultaneous charging and laptop usage.
User testing of the team’s prototype resulted in responses indicating the design was simple to figure out, the children liked being able to sit while charging, and some even said it was a fun way to charge the laptop. The final charger, Image 3, would cost $5.31 for material with a suggested selling price of $15.