Morphy is a family of computers designed to help bring people around the world into the 21st century, with a special focus on children and education. Based on the Squeak software system, which runs on all kinds of computers and operating systems and which is already being used worldwide in projects such as OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) and many others, Morphy was carefully optimizaed for this task:
People have to be able to afford it or nothing else matters. The alternative of having someone else buy the machines and donate to those who need it can help many, but takes all control from those receiving these gifts. Besides the computers themselves being low cost, it is very important that they make as few demands as possible on the local infrastructure.
Receiving working machines built halfway around the world is very nice, but reinforces the notion that high technology is something that happens elsewhere. It is obviously not reasonable to hope for "a Liquid Crystal Display factory in every hut", but any of the building blocks that can be built by the local community should be. And putting those building blocks together into one of the configurations described on this page can certainly be done locally and can even be an interesting learning experience for the final users, including children.
A black box does not teach anything, so open source is essential for a computer to be assimilated into the local culture even when it was designed elsewhere initially. Unfortunately it is not enough - having the full sources of a 20 million line program does not allow any single person to understand it due to its sheer size.
A simple way to create a low cost product is to take advantage of Moore's law and redo today hardware and software from the past. Some computer that might have cost $2000 when first introduced might be much less than $100 if made now.
Using advanced surface mount components, the Morphy board is one the the building blocks that is hard to make locally.
LCD screens, touch interface, keyboard, mouse, network adaptors, storage devices
The basic experimental (meaning the style of a development kit) desktop computer has a single Plurion board, a simple i/o board with two chips and several external connectors and a power supply.
A more advanced version uses four Plurion boards, taking the system memory from 128MB to 512MB.
Morphy Z - Dual Screen Laptop This portable machine is similar to the future XO-2 from OLPC.
Morphy C - Cell Phone This is a technology demonstration and not an actual product.