Review: Kano DIY computer kit

Steve Schuler has posted this review of the Kano DIY computer kit on Science 2.0.

I’ve lost count of how many computers I’ve built over the years, but I think it is safe to say that the Kano Computer was the easiest build ever. So simple a child could do it. Kano founders, Yonatan Raz-Fridman, Alex Klein, and Saul Klein, wanted to figure out what the next generation’s computer would be like, so they asked Micah, Saul’s seven-year-old son. Micah advised that he wanted to build the computer himself but it “had to be as simple and fun as Lego,” and “no one teaches me how to do it.”

The Kano is “a computer and coding kit, designed for all ages, all over the world.” It will get “you programming in minutes, with simple blocks that create real code.” It’s designed to “to give young people – and the young at heart – a simple, fun way to make and play with technology, and take control of the world around them.”

In reality what is the Kano? According to the Kano website the kit includes a Raspberry Pi along with a keyboard, SD card with the Kano OS, speaker, case, power supply, cables, WiFi USB adapter and written materials designed to help those totally new to the tech scene how to assemble and program a R-Pi setup. It retails for $149.99 shipping included.

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  1. $149.99 for some 1st gen RaspPi with some cheap accessories… What is the secret sauce i am not seeing here?

    1. It isn’t badly priced for what you’re getting. If you bought all the parts individually then you’d be paying about what Kano are charging anyway and Kano include free shipping for most countries along with a sticker book + manual. Presumably they started working on this bundle before the B+ came out which is the main flaw. It wouldn’t be a quick switch out though as their case and manual would need to be redone as well.

      I’m using Adafruit for prices just because they’ve got nearly all the parts in their store. You could get it cheaper by buying a RPi + SD card from Newark and then hunting around for the other parts.

      $49.95 for the wireless keyboard with touchpad (
      $39.95 for the RPi B (
      $11.95 for the WiFi dongle (
      $11.95 for the SD card (
      $9.95 for the speaker with amp (not quite the same as the Kano but
      $9.95 for the case (
      $5.95 for the PSU (
      $4.95 for the HDMI cable (
      $3.95 for the USB cable (

      All of those bits come out to $149.55 if you bought it from Adafruit and it doesn’t include the manual or the stickers.

      This particular kit isn’t aimed at you or me anyway. It is for somebody who just wants everything together ready to go with a manual to guide them.

      1. However, laptops with processing power similar to the R Pi are basically free these days, so if you are not doing something that requires the small form factor the whole concept is questionable to begin with.

      2. *shrug* It is a niche market but there are still benefits of going the RPi route. It isn’t something I’d buy personally but it isn’t the blatant ripoff that you may assume from first glance. If you want a RPi kit and want the accessories that comes with the Kano then this is a reasonable purchase IMO.

        The RPi is a fairly standardised platform now and some schools are using it in their lessons. Plenty of guides available online as well. You’ve got easily accessible GPIOs, I2C and SPI as well. You could bitbang it on a parallel port on an old laptop but it wouldn’t go as fast.

      3. Nobody is arguing that there are not a lot of really great uses for the Raspberry Pi. Building a desktop PC really just isn’t one of them. This goes double for educational institutions which are generally strapped for cash to begin with.

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