While I find it nigh impossible to believe that leaving a typewriter in the room with a bunch of monkeys would eventually see one of the Bard’s sonnets typed out (an experiment was run in the past to debunk such an idea), it is not too hard to see us humans are extremely intelligent compared to primates. For instance, when you leave OLPCs with a bunch of Ethiopian kids without any knowledge of it, all it took was just 5 months to hack the device. Hack, as in circumventing security measures of the operating system to customize settings while activating disabled hardware.

The OLPCs in question here are actually Motorola Xoom tablets that are powered by solar chargers while running on custom software, given to kids in schools. Each of these Xooms came pre-loaded with a custom English-language operating system and SD cards with tracking software, and it was discovered that within a time period of five months, they managed to hacked Android, so to speak. After all, someone disabled the camera, and the kids realized that the Xoom came with a camera and decided to just make it work.

It is stories like these that bring a tear to my eye. More empowerment and knowledge to these kids who thoroughly deserved the OLPC project – and more!

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