XO Laptop Safety Guides to Save Lives


XO safety shutdown screen

If you have an XO laptop, you've seen the XO safety screen. Right about now, I'm thinking about safety in a much larger context. The concept of safety education for children, taught through the XO laptop.

Recently a man died in my arms, his blood still warm on may face from an unsuccessful attempt at CPR revival. In a quiet moment afterwards, I thought it smart to add basic first aid information to the OLPC library.

Basic safety information for cuts, scraps, burns, the kinds of small wounds children could deal with themselves. Sanitary information about making clean drinking water and washing hands before meals, that while simple, can save lives. Maybe even emergency information like CPR or Stop, Drop, and Roll for parents to learn and share.

Keeping in mind the young child audiences, what safety information would you add to the XO?

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My shutdown screen doesn't look that cool! Mine is in black and white - have you updated your software? And if so how please? (And is it worth it/stable?)

That's Mike Lee's Build 616 shutdown screen. No clue if you can get the same for your XO.

Thanks for the reminder to get a CPR refresher course. I got certified years ago and never had to use it, thank goodness.

At least Bernard didn't die alone.

Information about some of the very simple techniques the Carter Center has been using to prevent e.g. guinea worm could be useful. Maybe the Carter Center would be interested in collaborating, since they are targeting many of the same countries as the OLPC.

CPR and Mouth to Mouth are two of the basic procedures that every adult and child should know. I hate to think of how many lives were lost because a crowd of people stood around a dying person not knowing what to do.

Even in a country like Australia where 95% of the population live within an hour of a beach and drowning in water is a common occurrence we still have very few people knowing basic procedures.

I would like to see a medical manual of common ailments and diseases, the cause and prevention and hygiene principals. Very few people in third world countries have basic knowledge of medicine.

Wayan, you and Amy have the knowledge to save people but in Bernards case his time here was over.

Wayan, as a volunteer FF/EMT, I appreciate and commend your lifesaving efforts! I've only used those skills a handful of times.

When I visualize the Third World, I think that many survival skills are taught early: to get water, food, what is poisonous, etc. What can the First World add? Likely, sanitation.

My understanding is that parasites, bacteria, and communicable diseases--things we rarely deal with here in the USA--are challenges far from here. So if there is an Activity on health and safety which can be added to the XO-1, that would be great, and I'm glad you got us thinking about that.

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying my G1G1 XO, have been showing it around at holiday parties, and have probably raised $2-3.000 in G1G1 and raw donations. This is my goal in having it, and I hope we can keep the momentum up.

Happy New Year!

So I just got my XO yesterday and am super stoked. I think that the first aid info would be a great idea. Why doesn't someone here write a program for it? Forget making it just a linked to resource library. This is content that needs to be available immediately without worrying about wireless connections.

A first aid program could be very simple. Text with basic pictures linked too from a table of contents that uses simple icons like a heart with some sort of icon indicating trouble for CPR. There is more than likely free or Creative Commons images of first aid procedures available on the net that could be utilized for the program. If no one here is up to the task of making it from a programing perspective, I'm sure not, there is probably some company or non profit (Red Cross?) out there that could take on the task.

If the Red Cross did it, the first aid bundle could be part of a larger health packet to teach kids about germs and such.
My brother is in the Peace Corps stationed in Moldova right now teaching health education and says that the don't really understand germs over there because the soviets said that being dirty is what makes you sick, so doctors will be scrubbing dirt off the floor between patients but not washing their hands.

The cold will freeze and burst sewage mains in winter which has over the years led to a superstition that cold water makes you sick. Moving air is supposedly a cause of illness as well, so in 100 degree heat of the summer, no one opens windows of houses or cars. They just heat up till some times they get sick.

The host mom he lived with during training got so hot she felt sick and finally went and stood in the doorway. But standing in the doorway cooled her off quickly and made her feel sicker thus reaffirming the superstition.

Wayan, you are one tough mother. And I mean this in the most positive meaning. Looking at your posts in the forum, I would never have guessed through what intense experience you've been through. I surely would be sitting around for days, just shivering.

This sounds like what is basically a documentation project. So, would the same level of excellence apply to this new, added information that we have with the existing XO docs?

I'm contacting several humanitarian organizations that may have a PDF with information like this. We could either just submit the PDF to OLPC for inclusion on the XO or redesign the information like Chris described. I know I've seen extensive documents and projects specifically geared toward educating aid-recipients in first aid, clearing a blocked airway, sanitation, etc. I'll look for them.

Sorry to hear that Bernard passed away. But may you, Amy, and Bernard's loved ones find comfort in the knowledge that every possible effort was made, without delay, to try and help him survive. When even the everything that's possible is done to help a sick person, and they still don't survive, I really believe that it was the person's time to go.

I think that adding first aid info to the XO libraries is a brilliant idea. Make sure that the Heimlich Maneuver instructions are also included. That's another crucial bit of emergency information that will most assuredly save lives.

We are concerned and working on this as well.
See: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Health

The Hesperian Foundation has kindly given us access to their source documents of Where There Are No Doctors and many other of their health and sanitation documents.
See: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Adapting_Hesperian_Books

Please drop a line to Pascal or myself on the wiki if you are interested in collaborating or extending our current health database.

Additionally wiki user DyDisMe is working on a TeleHealth system for remote diagnosis and basic health vitals reading.

Shame Seth didnt post ealier, I sent an email to public relations at the Red Cross already! Oh well, never hurts to have partners who know stuff!

It doesn't hurt to have a distributed net of people asking and bugging these orgs!

We should of course be a little better organized. I will work on getting the wiki Health pages updated a little bit better, and maybe making a guest post for Wayan on what's going on with the Health group. It's not very well documented at the moment.

Pick up the Jim Macdonald medical posts at:

I believe these are licensed under Creative Commons, but check with Jim.

I think it's a good idea, with some caveats. While traveling in Burma recently I met an articulate, university educated man who knew little about health issues and was very eager to talk to a Westerner about it because: "You're an American and you know things." He had a lot of questions for me such as "Is it true that you can catch a cold from another person that has it?" This was a college graduate and this was really an eye opener for me.

An word of caution though. Back to "You're an American and you know things." They have so little information that you have to tread very lightly as they will take nothing with a grain of salt, and anything delivered through a perceived expert (and even a Western backpacker with no medical background was perceived as an expert) gets taken literally, absolutely, and with urgency. Even technically correct information can be taken out of context and become the basis of an urban legend, a superstition, or even hysteria. For example, the idea of communicable diseases was so new to this guy that I had to be careful not to frighten him. So I agree with the concept of doing something like this, but I think the content should be guided/vetted by an existing organization that does this sort of education already. They know what information is most important and how to present it so it won't do more harm than good.

I'm not being paternalistic here: distributing public health information is a minefield even in industrialized countries. In America a few years ago we had some people urgently sealing themselves into small rooms with plastic sheeting and duct tape, creating a suffocation hazard, after our government recommended that doing so would protect your family from terrorism.

Also I would point out that despite the life-saving potential of CPR, (1)you are never supposed to use it unless properly trained because you can kill the person (I don't know if you can be properly trained on a computer) and (2)I think it is most likely to save anyone if the ambulance is on its way and you just need to buy time, so I don't know how useful it is where there is no medical infrastructure. I'm not sure about this part, though.

Good idea. It could right next to the easy-to-find "Getting Started" documents that need to on the OLPC, too.

The new (2001) Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook might do the trick:

The message below is what I sent to Red Cross. As Seth said, more people requesting the information isn't a bad thing. Red Cross replied back this morning that my request was passed to the appropriate administrator.

Message Text:

Does the Red Cross have a free, non-proprietary PDF covering first aid and sanitation that the OLPC project could freely distribute to children in developing countries?

Community members in support of the One-Laptop-Per-Child initiative are trying to put together a document to educate children in basic first aid and sanitation. If you have one that you wouldn't mind having distributed, we'd really appreciate the assistance. I am contacting several NPOs to see who has the most accurate and relevant information. The article describing the idea is here:


Thank you very much for your consideration.


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I echo the suggestion to put the Jim Macdonald medical posts up. They are great. (And they ARE licensed through CC.)

If you're on for OLPC health content, there's action:

In a related effort, Arjun is interested in organizing an OLPC-Health interest group. All interested in participating towards developing medical and health applications around the XO should join the "Library" mailing list and add their names to the volunteers section of the Health wiki page (http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Health).

Participation is invited from all: hardware developers, programmers, doctors, biologists, etc. A conference call is planned for the last week of January.


OLPC reports progress on medical information for the XO laptop:

15. OLPC Health: The OLPC Health initiative has gained good momentum. There are active discussions on the Library mailing lists and the wiki pages have also started to take shape See http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Health A vision document http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Health/vision is also in the works.

The list of group of advisers to the OLPC-Health initiative includes Josh Hehner, Jim Hopper, Sv Subramanian and Ichiro Kawachi. More detailed introductions of the advisers will follow soon on the Library mailing list. There is a conference call on the 10th of Feb at 1pm EST. People are invited to propose agenda items by posting on the Health wiki pages.