SBS television recently screened a documentary about Yves Behar, the person behind the distinctive industrial design of the OLPC XO laptop. It’s a fascinating insight into the mind and influences behind one of the most influential designers around. The documentary was originally aired in November 2008, so it is a little dated. For example, Yves talks about the “XOXO” XO-2, which has since been replaced with the XO-3. Nevertheless, it is well worth watching.
You can view the full version at the SBS Web site. The section on OLPC starts at 14:48.
UPDATE: if you are having trouble viewing the video, try this one instead. The attention to detail and quality is astounding. Yves rightly points out that products seen in lesser economically developed countries are normally second hand or second rate. The design is rugged and functional. It provides scope for personalisation. What was most interesting to me is Yves’ commentary on the keyboard. Its one-piece design means that the letters can be printed in one silkscreening process. This makes it feasible to translate into languages that would be uneconomical with a standard keyboard design.