A Seven-Year-Old Could Build This Computer That Fits Together Like Lego

By Adam Clark Estes on at

Kano is a new kind of computer company, a startup that's totally devoted to teaching a new generation about the craft of silicon. Its first product, a Raspberry Pi-based system so easy a child could build it, makes it easy to build a PC practically from scratch.

The idea behind Kano is focused on educating youth about how computers work. With a new kit that's hitting the market now for just $150 (£93), the company hopes to offer an opportunity to carry a novice to a basic understanding of both hardware and software in simple-to-comprehend levels. By gamifying the learning process—you earn points for completing levels and can win badges for accomplishments—Kano makes it fun to create circuits and to code. One of the co-founder's cousins, a seven-year-old, actually inspired the product by asking for a computer that was as easy to put together as Lego.

"We're building a new kind of computer company for a new creative generation—anyone, anywhere, from London to Lagos, from Boston to Shanghai," Yonatan Raz-Fridman, co-founder and chief executive officer of Kano, said in a release. "This extends beyond the Western world. If we can put the power of a new personal computing experience, an open one, in the hands of those who never had it before, imagine the possibilities."

A 7-Year-Old Could Build This Computer That Fits Together Like Lego

The Kano kit arrives with all of the basic components of a computer. Indeed—much like LittleBits—all of the pieces fit together like blocks, and within a few moments, the user is introduced to a Linux command line interface that serves as an entryway to an computer-building experience. While the finished product is hardly a Mac Pro, the functionality of the system is complex enough to support everything from Pong to Minecraft. It can also connect to the internet.

Of course, Kano is not designed to be a robust PC. Rather, it's meant to serve as a gateway into the world of hardware and software that's sure to shape the next generation of technology. Thanks to a very successful Kickstarter campaign, Kano is already headed 18,000 people in 86 different countries, and the company hopes to expand its reach with the current public release. Sadly, the UK doesn't seem to be one of those countries.

Although the system's geared towards ages six through 14, pretty much anyone could have a good time discovering—or rediscovering—the basics of computing. Because you should understand how your laptop works. After all, you use it every day. [Kano]

Images via Kano