OLPC peripheral development

Developing OLPC Peripherals is a Fall 2008 student designed course at Olin College in Boston, MA. The class focuses on development of hardware peripherals for the OLPC XO laptop. Students will work in teams to develop peripherals and meet regularly with the entire group for guest lectures and design reviews.

Current documentation lives at the OLPC wiki

Course background, description, and expectationsEdit

Developing OLPC Peripherals is a one credit student organized project class that will run in Fall 2008. Students will work in teams and pick their own projects, keeping the group updated on their progress. Guest lectures will cover topics like architecture of the laptop, circuit design, and good documentation practices.


  • Basic electronics design and fabrication
  • Previous experience with microcontrollers


  • Team will meet at least once a week
  • Project will be documented (and kept up to date) on the OLPC wiki
  • Participants will attend regular status update meetings (probably once every week or every 2 weeks)
  • Design reviews with advising professors in attendance will be held throughout the semester (four total design reviews, every other week)
    • In addition to a final design review, written reflections and documentation will be turned in at the end of the semester
  • Students will have access to XO laptops to test peripherals
    • Each student will also become competent in XO disassembly and repair (in case of testing accidents)


We have decided that we are going to build a kinetic input device that encourages collaborative physical interaction with the XO.

Phase I - User ExperienceEdit

We spent the first phase of the project planning out our desired user experience and interaction with the product. Our progress at the end of this phase will resemble the end of UOCD.

User Interaction DiagramEdit

The User Interaction Diagram shows our vision for how someone would use our product.


We defined our values, the values of laptop users, and the values of parents/gov't/etc.

Phase II - System DiagrammingEdit

In this phase, we will implement all of our individual components and plan the system integration. Our progress at the end of this phase will resemble the end of POE.

System DiagramEdit

Circuit DiagramEdit

Phase III - System IntegrationEdit

In this phase, we will put everything together and make it work. Our progress at the end of this phase will resemble the end of SCOPE.

Phase IV - DocumentationEdit

In this phase, we will clean up all of our documentation and make sure the project is reproducible by other parties. Our progress at the end of this phase will resemble something not done at Olin.

How to joinEdit

Contact Nikki Lee.



  • Oscar Mur-Miranda
  • Lynn Stein
  • Brad Minch

Meeting notesEdit