Accelerometer Turns OLPC XO-1.75 Into An Etch-A-Sketch


In his latest weekly Sugar-Digest Walter Bender mentions that the first prototypes of OLPC's ARM based XO-1.75 have started arriving at the doors of software developers around the world. One aspect of the XO-1.75 which I had managed to ignore until now is that it features a three axis accelerometer as commonly found in smartphones today:

Etch-a-Sketch XO
XO-1.75 + Etch-a-Sketch = XO-3?
One of the nice things about the 1.75 is that the OLPC engineering team threw in a few additional sensors. Saadia Husain Baloch got the accelerometer working and I immediately wrote a Turtle Art plug-in (included with v114). Saadia wrote a fun 'etch-a-sketch' program in Turtle Art that works by shaking the machine.

Etch-a-Sketch with an XO? Seriously, how cool is that? But Walter continues:

Not to be outdone, I added an enhancement to the Portfolio activity while I was on a short flight last week. If you hit the left side of the XO, it will advance to the next slide. If you hit the right side of the XO, it will return to the previous slide. The person sitting next to me on the plane told me, "That's the strangest thing I have ever seen anyone do with a computer."

Hehe, so it has only been a week and we are already seeing three great ways of using the accelerometer (and confusing fellow passengers on planes). Now I really can't wait to see the ideas others come up with and so I can only agree with Walter's conclusion:

The bottom line is the more sensors the better: we want to give young learners more opportunities to observe and interactive with the physical world.

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