The Woman Behind the Greenest Laptop (Yes, the OLPC XO)

MaryIf there is a Daniel Boone of the green laptop community it would be Mary Lou Jepsen. Jepsen, the second speaker here this morning, is responsible for developing the innovative, power management, sun-light display technology within One Laptop Per Child’s XO. As the former CTO of OLPC she was instrumental in making the XO one of, if not the “greenest” machine in the computer space. The machine isn’t only shaded green but it is extremely power efficient. So what did we learn about Jepsen’s screen? The screen she has invented isn’t only readable in the sun. It is power efficient because the technology turns off the CPU when the screen’s pixels aren’t moving. “I like CPU makers, I work with them a lot, but they aren’t always the brains,” Jepsen says. In other words, you don’t always need Intel. When the screen is on and just projecting something, you don’t need the power hog CPU running. Jepsen has figured out a way to turn off the constant power using CPU while the screen is still on, but you aren’t doing heavy moving on the system. She describes it as really quick turning on and off of system standy. This type of screen technology means less charging time and less replacement of the battery. In January, Jepsen announced she was leaving OLPC to start PixelQi to bring sunlight readable, low-cost and low-power screens into mainstream laptops, cellphones and digital cameras. So we can hopefully see the tech sooner than later in our gadgets. Jepsen also talked about alternative power sources. Our ears perked up with the talk of the cows. Yes, the XO can run on cranks and a solar panel and animal power. Check back soon for a video of Jepsen talking about the cows… “We can change things,” Jepsen concluded. “A Nigerian boy wrote me an email where he said ‘he loves his laptop more than his life.’ We are throwing away half the minds in this world.”

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  1. Jess Ward Says:

    The XO is a fine eco friendly laptop, and rightly deserves a place amongst the greenest laptops on the planet. However I believe the most energy efficient is the carbon neutral Zonbu notebook. It has an Energy Star 4 rating, and meets current RoHS standards.

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