I think its a very smart marketing move for Kano to launch products that are gender and age neutral. I volunteer with my public library’s CoderDojo program, which is for 9 to 17 year olds. One of the participant’s parents has actually stayed to learn as well. Its heartwarming to see parent and child learning new concepts together. Learning to code, makerspaces, hackfests, arduino…these activities are fun and instructive for all ages and can be a family activity too.
Kickstarted into existence in 2013, with a campaign that blasted through its $100,000 goal with $1.5 million in pledges, Kano now makes Raspberry Pi–based computer kits commercially available to children ages 6 to 14. Inspired by those young users, who founder Alex Klein says have created and shared as many as 5 million lines of code, he wants to spread that enthusiasm to a larger audience.
Engineering kits have been popular among kids and a natural fit in the educational space. Likewise, Kano set out following in the footsteps of companies like Little Bits, Adafruit, and Goldie Blox. But Klein now wants to extend Kano’s reach, taking it into grown-up territory. Simply put, he wants to appeal to everyone’s inner “inventor and tinkerer,” he said.
Klein wants to push into the adult maker market by putting out products that are both gender- and age-neutral. The core design, he hopes, speaks to fundamental human impulses: “Everyone has shared urges to look inside,” he said. “Everyone wants to take control. Everyone wants to make and play.”
Kano’s next stage of evolution will involve some fundamental shifts. The company is expanding its line-up with new add-on kits, and plans to open up Kano Blocks—its game-making arena—and online platform Kano World to community development.
All Kano products run on Kano OS, the open source operating system that sits on top of Raspberry Pi. It boasts high computational powers that let it run fast, boot quickly and offer clear graphical rendering. For developers, this means that they will have ample resources to jump on board and quickly create their own projects. Kano World allows for the Kano community to share their creations and add on to existing projects.
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