Whenever I attempt inter-family tech support with my Mom, I realize just how complicated computers are today. She often is confused by multiple file locations and program extensions, and once we delve into drivers or boot disks, I might as well be speaking Esperanto to her.
And multiplying my mom over the developed world population, and you have a cohort that not only rivals children in number, they are also exponentially more wealthy and yet just as in need of a simple communication device. A platform that facilities "learning learning" to key old minds sharp and engaged that's also amazingly easy to use and resistant to accidentally drops or spills.
By now, you know where I am going, so lets have eldavojohn on Slashdot make the link:
"I would suggest something like the OLPC as an everything. Yes, it's geared for children but I guess you're kind of dealing with ... well, in some cases degenerated minds.Kids and elderly do have the same needs, though maybe in a different form factor. The OLPC XO would need to be SuperSized - made with enlarged screens and keyboards for those with failing eyesight and poor hand-eye coordination. But would much else need to be altered?
I don't say that to be mean but ironically my four year old cousin and my 80 year old grandfather have some of the same needs when it comes to high tech gadgets."
While my mom is still too smart and spry to be comfortable with the current, limited OLPC activities, a few more adult-centric programs would go a long way to exciting Grandma and getting Grandpa off the couch. Games like sudoku or crosswords, in addition to Tetris or Doom on the XO would enliven shuffleboard courts and wireless mesh-enabled bridge, hearts, or Scrabble would create "XO thumb" in countless retirement homes.
Of course, I am not the first to think of One Laptop Per Grandma. In the comments of an earlier post, Delphi said:
I'm supporting quite a few elderly users whose only needs are Internet browsing and word processing and an inexpensive, simple and easy to use computer like XO would be ideal for them. Come to think of it, that's what many/most people use their computers for anyway. Add to it a 'super' eBook functionality and you have a winner - surely, even an OLPC critic like yourself should be able to see this...Though he was not referring to me, I complete agree with Delphi's opinion. I also bet Quanta agrees too, and can't wait to sell adult XO's to senior citizens, interconnecting a whole other market with clock-stopping hot XO technology.