IIT Bombay has procured low priced laptops in large numbers. The objective is to provide a complete computer system at an affordable price to the students and other users of such a machine. It is an improvement over the tablet project done at IIT Bombay. The laptop has a keyboard which students can use to create content and write computer programs.
Equipped with a large screen of 10 inches, the device has 8 GB NAND flash, 1 GB RAM, 32 GB SD card slot and 5000 mAH Battery – which can last for 4-8 hours depending on applications. It has two USB drives and a mini HDMI port. The machine comes with Ubuntu which has been pre-loaded. Since it is a Linux machine, there is an alternative to MS Office in LibreOffice and its output can be used in MS Office and vice versa. It has free browsers – Firefox and Chromium.
Additionally, it is possible to upload many educational software such as GeoGebra, Freemachine and Scratch. It is possible to upload Integrated Development Environment such as Code::Block. The machine can be used for many programming languages such as Java, Perl, Python, Ruby etc. Additionally, Chemical Engineering simulators such as DWSIM can be loaded on this machine.
Says Professor Kannan Moudgalya, “The laptop revolutionizes computer availability, and is one of the missing pieces of a puzzle. While content and Internet bandwidth are available at low cost, a device at a low price is not available. If we can provide a computer at a low cost of around Rs 5000, we can close the loop and empower our children.”
At present, this machine is available for bulk purchases only. It is supplied by a Delhi based vendor and assembled at Manesar in Haryana. IIT Bombay provides support for the operating system and the software. Professor Kannan believes that IIT Bombay’s work on software will improve the capability of these machines.