User:Ccarrick/ILXO Funding Letter


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There are several problems that we want to solve. One Laptop Per Child has been successful in distributing thousands of laptops around the world and the number deployed continues to grow every day. However, there is a gap in knowledge as to how to power these laptops sustainably in regions that have no access to steady grid power. Additionally, little has been done to see how these laptops can be made more accessible to the millions of children worldwide with disabilities. These are big problems - but the even bigger issue is that grassroots groups from around the world want to volunteer their time and expertise to solve them but find their efforts stymied by lack of resources and a dedicated local hacking space with active projects to contribute to - they need something to nucleate around. We're 4 young engineers working on filling that gap this summer by running an OLPC hacking space in Chicago with projects and workshops to kick-start already-existing OLPC local grassroots groups into getting more involved... and in order to do this, we need your help.

We've got the people and the time. The four of us are currently volunteering our time as engineers; several younger interns are assisting full-time and part-time with specific projects, and local volunteers are chipping their talent in to fill in any (hu)man-hour gaps. What we don't have is the materials and funding we need to put a roof over our projects (the XOs are waterproof - our off-grid charging peripheral prototypes aren't yet) and gas in our van so we can travel to the schools and camps we'll be holding workshops at. And there are other things we need - things as basic as soldering irons and screwdrivers so we can take XOs apart and put them back together while teaching local volunteers how to repair broken laptops.

Here's what we're doing:

  • Designing a low-cost, open-source voltage regulator to enable ingenious local hackers to use their own homebrew power sources
  • Designing a basic bicycle generator to more efficiently power the laptop using human energy.
  • Producing a comprehensive how-to guide on choosing and implementing a power infrastructure for OLPC classroom deployments
  • Designing an XO stand to streamline the repair center and allow for easier testing of hardware.
  • Running and hosting miniconferences and hackathons - open to the public - on curriculum development, computer games for learning, and more
  • Teaching workshops at schools, camps, libraries, etc. on request - available topics include photography, electronics, geometry, green engineering, and more as examples of how teachers can integrate computers into their classrooms
  • Hosting open-hack-space hours for local volunteers to drop in and volunteer for the OLPC project

You can see more details on all of these and more at, and more about the mission that's driving us at We've also attached printed copies to this letter for your convenience.

You can also see all the things we need to run these projects here at Furthermore, we're posting - publicly - all the expenses we've incurred so far here at so everyone can see where every cent of our funding is going. We're trying to minimize costs as much as possible, but we still have them.

If you could take a few minutes of your time to look over this list and see if there's anything you could help us out with, or anyone you could put us in touch with who might be able to, we'd greatly appreciate it. We'll be in contact with you within the next 2 days over phone or email to see if you have a few minutes to discuss this - or you can contact us at any time at 847.970.8484 or

Thanks for your time and attention,

The ILXO team

Chris Carrick

Mel Chua

Andrea Lai

Nikki Lee

PS: If you're curious what we're up to right this moment, we keep an active blog at; we'll also be presenting our projects at OLPC headquarters in Boston at the end of August when we return to work with the developers there.

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