Relaymedia

Kano: A $150 Computer Anyone Can Make

( [email protected] ) Oct 09, 2014 05:21 PM EDT
Kano is a device that allows its user to essentially make his or her own computer. The kit comes with a clear plastic case, speaker, keyboard, Wi-Fi dongle, and a Raspberry Pi. For those who are not familiar with Raspberry Pi, it is a $25 computer about the size of a credit card targeted for those that want to build their own computer and save money.

Kano is a device that allows its user to essentially make his or her own computer. The kit comes with a clear plastic case, speaker, keyboard, Wi-Fi dongle, and a Raspberry Pi. For those who are not familiar with Raspberry Pi, it is a $25 computer about the size of a credit card targeted for those that want to build their own computer and save money.

Although the Kano's intended audience is clearly children, the company states that those from ages 8 to 80 will enjoy and learn from this device. The user just needs an ordinary television, and the Kano kit comes with the HDMI cable necessary for connection. Kano also comes with both hardware and software to teach its users how to do basic computer construction, with a tutorial fit for all ages.

For example, one of the exercises is typing a line of code to defuse a bomb in a game. Other coding exercises include a way of making an old game called "Snake" which appeared on many early Nokia phones. Programming this version of snake involves the Python programming language, and the user quickly learns how to change and adapt the game for all kinds of variations. Users can even publish their creations on Kano's version of the app store, creating a new community of budding developers. The user can also learn to build their personal version of the classic Pong game using "Kano blocks".

Then there are also tasks where the user has to connect some of Kano's parts together. The operating system is a version of the Linux open-source software, with a graphical mouse interface. The guide in the tutorial is cute figure who is apparently into martial arts, appropriately named Judoka.

Kano could easily begin new generation of those who will learn to master hardware to really create their own computers. Considering the dawns of the Internet in the early nineties allowed people who have never programmed before to become modern-day webmasters, the idea of making hardware building on a computer is essentially an untapped market for what could be a new generation. Kano could easily sweep the nation by making computers simpler, and its formula could easily spawn many imitators.

Unfortunately, Raspberry Pi is not too sophisticated a machine, so Kano has provided a chart in the lower right corner to indicate if the processor is being overwhelmed. This prevents the user from having to reboot multiple times to perform a single program.