Designer of laptop for poor kids starts company

Nigerian pupils work on computers provided by the "One laptop per child" project in Abuja May 30, 2007. Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde

BOSTON (Reuters) - The scientist who designed a notebook computer for poor children that is being produced and sold by a nonprofit foundation has set up a company to commercialize the technology with a goal of producing a $75 laptop computer.

Mary Lou Jepsen, who left her post as chief technology officer of the One Laptop per Child Foundation at the end of last year, said on the company’s Web site that she has founded the company, called Pixel Qi, and described it as “a spin-out” from the nonprofit group.

Jepsen invented a low-cost, low-power sunreadable screen while at the foundation from 2005 to 2007. She also co-invented its power management system.

Pixel Qi will commercialize the screen technology, offering it to makers of notebook computers, digital cameras, cell phones and other mobile devices, she said on her Web site.

The high-resolution display that she invented lets users switch from color to black-and-white when it is in direct sun.

The company will work closely with the foundation, providing the products it develops to the nonprofit group at cost, according to the Pixel Qi Web site.

Prior to joining the OLPC Foundation, she was the chief technology officer of the display division of Intel Corp INTC.O.

Reporting by Jim Finkle; Editing by Brian Moss