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Stuart Houghton writer
Stuart Houghton Freelance writer and IT nerd London, UK

Kano is a new project that aims to make it even easier to set up a Raspberry Pi and get kids coding. The project's creators - currently seeking crowdsourced funding via Kickstarter - found the original Raspberry Pi to be too fiddly and technical for the average user and came up with the idea of a modular home computer that you could snap together, using a Raspberry Pi as its core.

The Kano box contains (or will contain - only test units have been distributed so far) a Raspberry Pi in a clear perspex case; various connecting cables and a power supply; a wifi adaptor; a combined Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad; a memory card and a clutch of stickers and customisable panels. These can be quickly assembled into a working system that plugs straight into your TV or monitor.

One criticism of the Pi is that it is so open and hackable that new users often don't know where to start. One way that Kano aims to address this problem is with it's Kano OS - a remix of the stable and popular (at least, among geeks) Debian Linux operating system with a kid-friendly interface that wouldn't look out of place on a games console.

The row of icons on the main Kanos OS screen are six 'levels' that invite the user to create games like Pong and even Minecraft using its simple 'KanoBlocks' visual programming language. KanoBlocks generates real Javascript or Python code that can be used for more complex programming tasks.

The whole kit snaps together in a couple of minutes, with the aim being to get children up and coding with little fuss but still keeping some sense of the DIY elements of creating a Raspberry Pi system.

Having easily exceeded its Kickstarter funding goals, Kano is set to go on sale next Summer for $99 (around £61). A little pricier than the bare-bones Raspberry Pi but good value compared to some of the Pi, keyboard and case bundles currently on sale.

1 Reply Share:
Fact 3 years ago
expert answer
Roberto Catanuto expert
Roberto Catanuto Teacher, Club Instructor CH
Education expert

I still have to experience on it, but the premises look good till now. I'm still not sure how much open the assembling is. I mean:

  • is it possible to build more than one prefixed computer?
  • are there fixed instructions to follow to get the computer working? or is there still room for the kid to explore on her-his own?

The authors claims to have a Lego-based philosophy in designing the kit. I hope so, since Lego sets are so geared towards open-ended exploration and design that every kid,child,adult can think, make and re-make all the time.

Thanks for raising this up.

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Opinion 3 years ago

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