Global design consultancy IDEO and American education technology company Project Inkwell have unveiled a laptop-style study tool for children under the age of 12.

Calling the concept "Spark", IDEO says the day-glo orange machine's goal is to "greatly increase the size and effectiveness of the K-12 education technology market by managing the synthesis of functional specifications for a ubiquitous computing platform."

Which means, erm… well, frankly it's hard to say, but at least you can rest easy in the knowledge that people who know such clever words could soon be educating your children!

One laptop per child

The concept appears to have come about in response to the "One Laptop per Child" mania in America, seemingly designed to be taken to and from school, allowing "students to learn anytime, anywhere".

Luckily, the unit's "soft housing" also protects the computer while, says IDEO, the housing and keyboard "are inexpensive and can easily be replaced over the life of the device." This should be particularly useful as the machine is hurled out of school bus windows or used to smash other children round the face in the inevitable "my desktop theme is better than yours" arguments.

The package is completed by a "hot swappable" spare battery in a zip pocket, and a Bluetooth mouse. No release date, price or defined specs are yet available, and there's been no mention of seeing the machine outside the US as yet.