About this project
Our Kickstarter campaign has ended, but you can still order your own Kano at get.kano.me
1 MILLION!! THANK YOU!!! We're humbled, amazed, and committed to getting you your kits.
It’s a computer you make yourself. It's simple, fun, and for everyone. And we need your help to make it happen.
Here's something we made earlier...
What can I do with it?
- A computer, powered by Raspberry Pi
- Games like Pong, Snake
- Music and sounds
- HD video
- A speaker
- Towers of dynamite (...in Minecraft)
- A wireless server
- A custom case, with stickers, decals, or any printed design
- Most Debian Linux packages
- Pretty much anything else, because Kano is open source
Who’s it for?
Kano is for anyone who wants to start creating with technology – not just consuming it.
It's a simple, fun, useful toolkit that you can use to start taking control of the world around you.
Does it work?
Kano emerged from a year of making computers with hundreds of kids, teachers, engineers, and artists.
It's based on simple steps, physical computing, and play.
In May, we created 200 early prototype kits and put them to the test. These are some of the people who tried them out:
We also put some of the first 200 quietly up-for-sale. We wanted to learn by doing – so that when it came time to make the kit and get it to your door, we wouldn't slip on a banana peel.
(We also folded and packed the boxes in our apartment – but that was just for fun.)
1 – Kano Books, illustrated and intuitive
2 – Kano OS and Levels on 8GB SD card
3 – DIY Speaker
4 – Raspberry Pi Model B
5 – Kano Keyboard Combo
6 – Custom case
7 – Card mods and stencils
8 – Stickers!
9 – Cables: HDMI*, Mini-USB
10 – Smart power plug (all region pins available)
11 – WiFi powerup
The Kano box is light, recyclable, repackable, and fits through 85% of urban mailboxes.
Our favorite pledges
We'd love to send you these rewards for supporting us, and there are even more at right.
99% of the world is designed by and for a tech-literate 1%. That's a problem, caused by:
- Closed devices
- Un-fun, top-down teaching
- The intimidation factor – "geeks" vs "noobs"
We often draw lines between things: art and science, code and design, STEM and the humanities. It makes “digital literacy” seem like brussels sprouts – good for you, but hard to chew.
It shouldn't be so hard to get started – to make, play and experiment right out of the box.
Kano is a toolkit for anyone to start coding right away.
We think you learn faster and better when you have control and freedom, like in a good videogame. Then, when you can bend the rules, things get kung fu.
We love visual programming languages, especially Scratch, and wanted to hook them up to our favorite games. We came up with Kano Blocks, inspired by Google's Blockly and many hours of button-mashing.
Our software combines Kano OS, a distribution of Debian Linux, with an interface that feels a bit like a console game. It runs six Kano Levels, software projects to make Pong, Snake, Minecraft, videos, and music – with (inshallah) more to come.
We're also loaded with Scratch, Codecademy, and "Hacking Fundamentals," an introduction to the world of the Linux shell, where you can join the free software movement worldwide (and go on spy missions).
Simple steps, fantastic projects
A year ago, we started with a book – Lego-inspired, with a hint of our favorite manga. It's beautifully illustrated, instructional, with an achievement on every page. Our narrative (and name) is inspired by judo, and its creator, Kano Jigoro, a lifelong schoolteacher.
In the Bronx or Beijing
Kano is for everyone, so you can get our books in English, Spanish, Arabic, or Mandarin, and we're working on more languages. We deliver around the world with flat shipping costs. (See rewards at right.)
We'd love to make you a $99 kit. But any pledge, any size, will go toward building the first computer made by and for the majority world, and end-to-end with open source software.
Plug and play your own way
We designed the Kano Kit to be a bit like our favorite boardgames growing up. It's vibrant, repackable, and doesn't take itself too seriously. Trick out your computer with stickers, decals, and your own designs. Or turn your computer into a mini-boombox with a D.I.Y. speaker, powered by an amp and the Pi's own GPIO pins.
At school and at work
Make Kano with your cousin, your Dad, your friends, or your dog. (Caution: do not put stickers on dog.) The kit is also great for schools, clubs, companies, and places where people ponder. It introduces computing and code in simple, tactile ways.
- Make hardware
- Hack games
- Share projects
- Onboard Scratch, Codecademy, Minecraft, and more
Kano provides pedagogy, exercises, and tools for each key stage rubric in the new UK computing curriculum – it's great for small groups (a semester project) or a take-home project.
Get the projects and books
We want to get our content and software into your hands as soon as we can. Support us with more than $9, and you'll be an Alpha hero – you'll get early downloads of our books and software before our full release. $9 is a great pledge for anyone who has a Pi in their drawer and wants a cool way to get started (or teach it!).
(Pledge more than $19, and we'll send you a t-shirt and stickers too!)
Support computer kits for kids
Kano Academy is our not-for-profit project. Through it, we're working to get low-cost, homebrew tech into the hands of smart young people woldwide. We need your help to keep it going. So far, we:
- Supported a scholarship for the 16-year-old inventor Kelvin Doe – Freetown, Sierra Leon
- Supported the Caine's Arcade scholarship fund in Los Angeles, USA
- Sponsored the Learning Inventions team to workshop RPi robotics with fifty kids in Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Thirty gratis 'make a computer' workshops in Primary & Secondary Schools around the UK
- Committed to sponsor Kano kits to Martha Chumo, who's setting up a non-profit Dev School in Nairobi, Kenya
- Committed to donate 25 Kano kits to a new Innovation Lab in Freetown, Sierra Leon
- Sponsored the first Codemakers camp in Newcastle, UK
- Supported the Internet Archive to rebuild its fire-damaged scanning center in San Francisco, CA
We want to get kits to those who have been excluded – by economics or geography. Your pledge helps us make it possible.
Pledge $229, get a kit for yourself, and give one to a kid
If you want a kit and you're feeling the holiday warmth, consider pledging on behalf of a smart kid who can't afford one. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you want to Give-One-Get-One, and we'll pledge the kit in your name, to whomever you want, after the campaign.
Or, if you're feeling extra magnanimous, you can bump up to a Kano Lab pledge. You'll utterly transform a classroom, makespace, or institution with DIY computers and a hands-on introduction from us. (Details at right.) Oh and you get a Kano kit too which is sweet.
We love building on top of the Raspberry Pi board, and alongside the foundation and community. We're working open up the device's promise and power to everyone, and expand the ecosystem.
We've designed brand new hardware and new hacks, and fixed dozens of known issues on the Pi – they'll be open, so anyone can have at them and improve.
Who are you people?
We're a group of eight from six different countries. We've been around for a year now, making things we think are cool and shipping kits around the world.
If we were a collective animal, it would be an octopus.
Last November, Alex, Yonatan, and Saul were trying to imagine what a computer for the next generation would look like.
In the end, it came down to a challenge from Micah, a smart seven-year-old – Saul's boychik, Alex's cousin.
Micah wanted to make his own computer. But he had two rules:
- It had to be as simple and fun "as Lego."
- No one "teaches me" how to do it (zzz)
Saul introduced Yonatan (who loves big challenges) to Alex (who likes beautiful things and good stories.)
Then this happened (*whooosh flashback*)
We’ve spent the last year making, playing, and remaking the kit around the world with
- hundreds of young people
- tech educators
- and the open-source community.
The prototype works beautifully, we’ve nailed suppliers and production, and we know we can make it at $99 – so it can reach everyone.
But we need your help to make it happen
We always knew that Kano was something we wanted to take directly to Kickstarter for a first run. It's a place that blurs those lines from earlier – art, science, etc. – and thus can make really audacious dreams come true.
$100,000 will allow us to make up to 1000 more kits, keep the lights on, and work on new hardware expansions. With your help, we can continue to make "making" even more accessible and fun.
Kickstarter backers will be the first to get the new Kano Kit, and also to play with the new Kano OS as treasured Alpha testers.
Plus, just for here, we're offering the Kano keyboard as a separate accessory – wireless, independent mouse buttons, multitouch trackpad, awesome, orange. Just pledge more than $49 to get it.
Everything is a prototype
We want to keep designing projects, books, software levels, hardware, and experiences that you want – then releasing and open-sourcing them as soon as they're working. It's messy but fun, and keeps us thinking.
Before Kickstarting, we wanted to ensure we could make good on our promises. So we started early – we designed, developed and released 200 prototype kits (white box), and brought them to market.
A year later, we’ve sourced hundreds of components from dozens of suppliers, completed product assembly and order fulfillment ourselves (at first from Yonatan and Alex’s apartment), and pulled off operations for our early adopters. If you join us with a pledge, we'll be able to go the last mile.
It’s been an adventure, and we’re ready for larger volumes and new expansions. Our prototypes are up, running, and ready for next summer – all we need is you.
We hope we can get you started with Kano. But after that, it's your's to create.
Thanks for reading,
Alex Klein – cofounder, writer, product
Yonatan Raz-Fridman – cofounder, dreamer, making things happen
Saul Klein – cofounder, guru, dad
Alejandro Simon – chief software architect, couch surfer, raver
Tommy Seal – artist, Swedish, 1st-gen bézier blender
Tancredi Trugenberger – front-end ninja, known deviant
Mathew Keegan – community champion, Welsh wizard
Radek Pazdera – open-source, open-minded engineer
Nathan, Albert, Emma, Justine, Caroline, and Tom – Kano fellows
Shoulders of giants
On the shoutouts front, we're lucky to have built on top of Raspberry Pi, an amazing invention that has pushed the ball forward for computing education in innumerable wonderful ways. We've also built on top of the work of fine Pi hackers like Sam Aaron, Rich Wareham, and Alex Bradbury, and are pushing all our own code back into the community. We are also grateful for the Debian community, who have been huge assets as we try and create a new generation of open-source engineers and creators by making Linux fun. We're also grateful to Mojang for Minecraft and the Pi Edition.
For the new hardware and packaging, we worked with the geniuses at MAP, industrial designers who make mindblowing classroom chairs and watering cans. They've pioneered a process called "informed creativity" and were founded by the guys who did the London Olympic Torch. We collaborated with Jon Marshall, Scott Barwick, and Jacky Chung, mould-breaking thinkers and artists.
We started this a year ago with the thought that anyone should be able to make and change technology. We're just one group of people working in a broader movement to bring technological creativity to the masses (Codecademy, Code.org, Raspberry Pi). Hope you can be, like us, a small part.
Some things we're glad people said
"There's enormous value to platforms like Kano which add hardware, software, peripherals and documentation to the Pi to make it more appealing to users who are under-served by the standard offering. I've had a play with early versions of the Kano software environment, and I think Alex and the team are doing great work making the Pi more accessible to younger and less technical audiences."
-Eben Upton, Founder, CEO, Inventor, Raspberry Pi
"The Kano Kit was really inspirational to young people in Freetown." -Kelvin Doe, inventor, aka "DJ Focus,"
“Adults think we're incapable, but we made a computer with this like, Matrix code. We’re like super children!” -Khalid, 8
"It’s great to see kids making (and changing) Pong with the Kano Kit." -Al Alcorn, inventor, Pong
“It was so fun when we used the code. Usually on Minecraft you can’t do stuff like that...” -Harry, 9
"Kano will help people around the world learn new skills and unlock their potential." -Rohan, Frmr Tech Advisor, UK PM
"legendary ... awesome ... fun ... sweet ... fantabidosie (?)" -One word summaries (five in a row) from kids, 9-10, in one of our workshops.
Risks and challenges
We're a team with a lot of experience in making things and delivering them – digital products, consumer products and technology execution, with background at places like Skype, Keter, Newsweek, Sony, Memrise, and Red Hat. There are always challenges, but our promise is that we'll rise to meet them with all our might. We'll do everything in our power to leave our backers well looked after, and their rewards on-time or early.
We've given above a conservative estimate of of delivery dates. We are committed to keeping you informed of our progress in the months following the campaign. Our promise to deliver will be challenged at all times by the known complexities of manufacturing, production scheduling, shipping "atoms" between continents, and more.
Therefore, in the event that unexpected issues arise in the delivery schedule, we will do our utmost to minimize the impact on our supporters and dedicate ourselves to providing the best, most honest, experience. Our first 200 got hands-on help, and so will you if you join us.
For more information, email us any time at email@example.comLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
Just pledge $119 to pre-order! That price includes the $99 kit, plus $20 for worldwide delivery.
We sold out of the limited edition Holiday Kits really fast, but if you pledge $9, you can get downloads of the books and Kano OS by December 20th!
Kanō Jigorō, a schoolteacher, founded Judo. He democratized Japanese martial arts and made it accessible to everyone, no matter where they lived or how old they were.
(We also love Meccano, Lego, the North London rapper, and the Nigerian city.)
Our Kickstarter backers will get access to our early alpha of Kano OS and its awesome Levels by December 20th, when the campaign ends. After testing, learning, and improving with our backer all-stars, we'll open-source everything in time for the shipment of the Kano Kit, in July.
If we can reach $2 million, we'll create an expansion kit for Kano: robots! motors! sensors! Physical computing par excellence for all ages.
We plan to ship Kano kits around the world in June, 2014 – your $119 pledge covers the $99 kit, plus free worldwide shipping.
Yes! Just pledge $119 for each kit, and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org notifying us of your pledge and quantity.