Meet Kano: A Lego-like DIY Computer That Even a Six-Year-Old Can Assemble

( [email protected] ) Nov 19, 2016 10:47 PM EST
Kano founder and developer Alex Klein has always been passionate about getting children to understand how a computer works.
Kano's computer bundle kit featuring its innovative DIY computer screen. Jenny Goodall

Kano founder and developer Alex Klein has always been passionate about getting children to understand how a computer works. This passion, and a challenge from his six-year old cousin to build a simple computer, eventually led him to developing Kano, a do-it-yourself computer that's fun and simple to build that even children as young as six years old can play with.

All Kano kits feature the following:

Hardware: cables, a keyboard, and a build-your-own computer that can be connected to a TV or any monitor

Accessories: build-your-own camera, speaker, and flashing light board

Manual: called a "Story," it details a step-by-step, page-by-page colorfully illustrated guide that can help the user set up the computer and its parts.

The manual also includes a step-by-step guide on coding, featured in colorful arrays of drawings. Coding lessons for Python, JavaScript and Unix are all included.

Building the computer is further simplified into three steps: "Build your computer bit by bit... Wire up a screen... and Bring your computer to life!"

Since launching Kano in 2013, co-founders Alex Klein, venture capitalist Saul Klein, and entrepreneur Yonatan Raz-Fridman, have sold more than 100,000 units in Africa, Asia, Australia Europe, and the U.S.

The trio started their funding campaign through the popular crowdfunding website Kickstarter, and has raised over $1.5 million from 13,387 backers from more than 45 countries. Kano became even more popular when it was found out that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler both preordered the kit on the site.

It will be almost impossible for any computer enthusiast not to know of Arduino, the "open-source electronic prototyping platform" that enables users to build their own electronic projects. Kano works much like Arduino but has made the programming and building aspects simpler and easier to understand for first-timers.

Kano, which was developed and is based in London, had the city's mayor Boris Johnson so impressed that he had Kano's computer kits featured for the London Tech Week.

Also when UK Prime Minister Theresa May visited India last October, she brought with her a Kano kit to show the region's growing innovation industry.

Kano was named after Kano Jigoro, father of Judo, whose teachings on dedication and self-discipline still ring true today. Alex Klein says, "It was part luck, part sweat, and part quality of executive. The market for low-cost computing is huge. We're bringing the creativity back to computing."

Kano computer kits are available from $154 and can be ordered on the company's website