OLPC experiments with cow-powered laptops (seriously)

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The One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC) is toying with a novel source of power for its low-cost XO laptops: cows.

"We plan to drive a dynamo (taken from an old Fiat) through a system of belts and pulleys using cows/cattle," wrote OLPC's Arjun Sarwal, in an e-mail dated Oct. 21 and posted to one of the group's discussion lists.

Sarwal and others are now finalizing the design of the cow-powered generator.

The goal is to develop a low-cost energy source that can be used in Indian villages. Working in a village close to Mumbai, Sarwal said the group considered using solar energy but sunlight near Mumbai was not "consistently strong." There was not enough wind or running water nearby to use these as sources of power, and the cost of running a gas-powered motor was too high.

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