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Environmental Issues
Going Green

By Alan J Hartley

The Wind Up Computer.



16 years ago Trevor Baylis invented the “Wind Up Radio” that took the scientific world by storm with it’s ingenuity. Initially the radio was quite expensive for its target sales group of the under developed countries where mains power is often not available, but it did serve a purpose and was extremely practical. The radio became legendary and over the years since then the same technology has been applied to many other devices.

Wind up pocket lights are a great emergency stand by in the event of power cuts, or even just for occasional use as they never need their batteries checking after long-term storage. The latest torches use L.E.D lights that have extremely low power requirements thereby giving a very bright, but efficient light that will run much longer than more conventional bulbs. Other, recent innovations, include Media Players and even a small, portable, pedal power, generator that comes with a large 12V battery from which power can be drawn at different voltages to power all manner of small electrical items from mobile phones upwards. It sounds like a good idea for camping, but then again most campsites have electrical power laid on these days.

However, since the first “Wind Up Radio” people have dreamt of creating a cheap, wind up computer so that everyone in the World could get on line. Nicholas Negroponte was the scientific brains behind the project with the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, pushing the idea out to the world. The “Green Machine” as it was to be called would use flash memory instead of a hard drive and although it would serve all the functions of a modern computer the whole thing would be simpler from its construction, through it’s operating system to the programs it would run. It would be tough and fully mobile giving users access to the Internet and computer power anywhere.

The project was named “O.L.P.C.” or “One Lap Top Per Child.” There was much hype over its proposed low target selling price of $100. Sales were expected to reach hundreds of millions and indeed many were sold. As the years ticked by improvements were made and power requirements were reduced, however, even with a promotional charity idea in America, where children could buy a machine at twice the price for themselves and donate one for free to a child in a third world country, the great dreams for the green machine seem to have come to little. New machines are still being planned and developed with launch dates proposed and new even lower prices dreamed of, but it seems that the “Green Machine” was only really an early idea for what we now call a "Netbook," "Palm Top," or "Tablet." Computer. The only difference was that it was to have a wind up generator. Back in 2009 the “Green Machine” was re-developed so that the generator was an optional clamp on extra!!!



Gardening Tips
By Mrs FM


Unusual & Old
Fashioned Fruit


Herbs & Other
Edible Plants.


Books By
Alan J Hartley