Do you want your kid to learn how to think creatively about computer and by coding their first games that they can then play with friends? In a world that’s becoming ever so more digital each and every second, having a great starter kid for your kid is essential. While the Raspberry Pi has made it easier to anyone to assemble their first computer, Kano.Me is truly the “Lego” of creating your programmable computer. Unlike just clicking on iPhones and Android tablets, it lets kids think and create!
Kano is, as they say on their website, “for the generation that wants to create technology – not just consume it”. The kit, which costs $99,99 (down from $149,99 during the holidays) has everything that your kid needs to build their first computer: All the bits, instructional books and apps – as well as challenges – are included in the kit! The computing hardware includes a Raspberry Pi as the core, a Bluetooth keyboard, connector cables, speaker, WiFi and some other bits that are easy to arrange in a plug-and-play fashion that kids can have the satisfaction of assembling themselves!
Making the Kano.Me kit has been no small task, with the creators coming up with a unique design based on 10,0000 hours with educators, artists, parents – and of course – kids. Kano.Me has not only won the international RedDot award 2015 but was also the Webby Award people’s voice winner, while also being a feature as one of the designs of the year in the Design Museum.
Winning so many awards is not surprising when you discover that almost 13,000 kits were ordered just during Kano.Me’s Kickstarter campaign (the company raised more than $1,5 million), with a further 5,000 pre-orders taken on its website. The first batch of products is shipping to kids in over 86 countries. While most might assume that it’s all going to the US, more than half of the orders are being shipped to kids in the rest of the world!
Co-founder Alex Klein told Techcrunch:
Over the past 20 months we’ve put together, pretty much from scratch, a responsive supply chain in Southern China to source 36 different components from four countries. To combine them together on two different assembly lines, with four testing stations into 18,000 kits
Build It And They Shall… Create
The fun doesn’t stop with assembling their first computer. After starting up their Kano.Me computer, kids can draw art, make music, code games and work on over 1000 creative projects. But how did Kano.Me come into being. The original inspiration came from Index Ventures’ partner Saul Klein’s son, Micah, who wanted to learn how to code. Alex, Saul’s first cousin, though that there had to be an easier way of kids learning how to “play” with technology – and that’s how Kano.Me was born!
The big idea behind this little kit is to get kids excited about building stuff, such as software or hardware, by first having them to play with it and truly take ownership of their own projects, whatever they might be. It can be a classic style game or something that looks more like Minecraft, but kids can use Kano.Me to learn how to create software in simple chunks that break down the complexity of the process. The “development” of games in the kit is designed through a drag-and-drop Scratch-style programming interface that the company calls Kano Blocks.
Open source advocates will definitely like that Kano.Me’s OS is based on Debian Linux, featuring a special Kano.Me OS layer that makes it more user-friendly. This means that other open source apps as well as other Kano.Me users’ creations can be installed on each Kano.Me computer.
If you want to order a Kano.Me kit for your or someone else’s kids, definitely do so by December 31st so you get it for $99,99!