Gadgets

Kano’s next learn-to-code kit is a build-it-yourself laptop


London-based Kano has another code kit in the works to add to its STEM targeting gamified educational line of build-it-yourself kids’ products ahead of the present-buying holiday season.

The kit is being priced at $249.99/£229.99, and is up for pre-order from today — through the Kano website and via “select retailers and e-tailers” — with shipping due to start on November 1.

The Computer Kit Complete takes the next obvious step of combining two prior Kano products: its original (screenless) Kano computer kit and the expansion Screen Kit that followed, in a new all-in-one computer kit Kano it’s billing as a “laptop”.

“First, you assemble your own laptop with a step-by-step storybook, learning how batteries, sensors, speakers, and USB boards work. Then you begin making art, games and apps in real programming languages like Javascript and Python, leveling up slowly from blocks to typed text,” it writes of the new product.

As with its prior Kano kits, the new computer kit runs its Kano OS — which it describes as a “family friendly educational operating system”, noting that it includes parental controls and a content-blocker to filter what kids can see when they’re using the device to browse the Internet.

Though it also claims the kit computer “works as a powerful DIY PC too”, flagging the presence of apps like YouTube, WhatsApp, Google Maps and Wikipedia, as well as its own range of “creative computing applications”, which are aimed at encouraging kids to learn coding principles and even write lines of code while they play around with digital content. Its apps include Hack Minecraft, Make Art, Terminal Quest and Story Mode.

Ahead of the holiday season last year Kano outed a series of connected device kits — such as a programmable LED array and a gesture controller. But this year it looks to be doubling back down on its core computer kit concept. Kano’s co-founder Alex Klein confirms that while the Screen Kit is being kept around the new Complete Computer Kit is the Kano product “we highly recommend”.

The startup, which was founded in 2013 and counts Saul Klein (formerly a partner at Index Ventures) as a co-founder and an investor in a personal capacity, has raised around $15M in VC funding to date, plus further funding via a crowdfunding route which was how it kickstarted the business.


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