Last November, Kano’s DIY computer kit raised over $US1.5 million on Kickstarter because it made two seemingly tricky things — building a computer and learning to code — both accessible and fun.
Today, Kano is now available to the public, allowing anyone looking to learn how to code and construct their own computer. The $US149 kit includes all the parts you need to get started, minus the display screen, which you’ll need to provide.
While anyone can learn a lot from Kano’s step-by-step instructions, the included booklets and overall design aesthetic of Kano and its Linux-based operating system are geared more towards kids.
It’s a move that makes a lot sense due to the inherently intimidating nature of computers and coding, and the best part about Kano is that you can be a computer novice and still construct, code, and tinker on a computer you’ve made surprisingly quickly.
Kano is built using the famously small-yet-powerful Raspberry Pi computer, which normally costs $US35.
And while anyone can purchase a Raspberry Pi, Kano has engineered its own case that makes installing the included speakers as easy as building Legos.
Kano truly shines, however, in how it teaches you.
The included Kano books are colour coded and trade complicated computer jargon to normal language. For example, Kano calls computer parts like the motherboard “the computer’s brain.”
Kano takes a similar approach in its operating system, which is broken down step by step in the second Kano booklet.
Coding is accomplished by slowly learning how to manipulate Kano Blocks, which transforms coding from a text-only infrastructure into a puzzle-piece-like exercise where you can experiment and alter the included games like Minecraft, Pong, and Snake.
Outside of Kano’s guided coding tutorials, it’s important to remember that Kano is full-fledged computer, capable of browsing the internet, playing music, and more. It doesn’t run Mac or Windows, but Linux, an open source operating system that a lot of other computers are already based on.
And while you could technically build a computer with the same specifications for less, you’d be missing out on the brilliance of Kano’s entire ecosystem.
Most importantly, Kano lowers the learning curve while staying lively enough to capture and keep a child’s attention span. That particular combination could mean the difference between sparking a youngster’s imagination and prompting them to dive into a new technology … or being intimidated and choosing to wait.
If you want to order your own Kano computer kit, head on over to the official website.