The XO Laptop has a durable “membrane” keyboard which is designed to be water and dust resistant since the laptops were designed to stand up to harsh conditions in developing nations — and the abuse any computer can get at the hands of children. But an Australian Education Department IT officer noticed that kids like to pick at the keyboard, which can lead to keys coming off.

So he developed an interesting and inexpensive solution: He started printing keyboard designs on standard paper and laminating the paper to make it more durable. You can place the laminated sheet on top of the keyboard to keep the keys from falling off.

There’s just one problem: the keyboard cover isn’t as flexible as the actual keyboard, so you have to push down much harder to press keys. To really make this solution usable, you’d likely have to come up with a way to raise the paper keys so the sheet fits the membrane keyboard like a glove.

Still, it’s an interesting idea, and a good example of how people all over the world are developing their own solutions to make the OLPC XO Laptop better for their needs without spending an arm and a leg — which was kind of the whole point of the OLPC project in the first place.

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One reply on “Printed keyboard protector for the XO Laptop”

  1. There are companies that make ‘keyboard condoms’ for most of the more popular designs for at least two decades now. Seems there are enough of these out there to justify one of them cranking a few out. That would solve the problem nicely.

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