So much of what children are taught in the sciences amounts to abstractions. It's a shame, really -- concepts of the universe are so much easier to extrapolate when we can see them for ourselves. OLPC's looking to give the classrooms it serves more access to the very big and very small with two new attachments that we had the opportunity to check out on a recent visit to the company's Miami office. First off is a telescope that secures to the side of its XO-4 laptop with a vice grip, utilizing the device's built-in camera. There's also a microscope that sits atop a swiveling base and plugs directly into one of the laptop's USB ports. Both peripherals run on Fedora-based software designed by the company.
OLPC will be bringing these out as soon as it can get the price down through manufacturing. For the France-designed telescope, the company is aiming for $10, with a potentially lower price on the microscope. The idea is to get one of each in a classroom, rather than the one-to-one approach of its XO line.