Innovation That Matters

Coding startup collaborates with design studio to launch a new visual tool

Work & Lifestyle

London-based Kano has launched three new computer kits, designed in collaboration with design studio, Map.

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Although Kano uses a single-board computer called the Kano Brain, their product is often compared to the Raspberry Pi, another educational tool to promote basic computer science. Launched on Kickstarter back in 2013, the edtech startup has since raised USD 15 million. We’ve looked at other edtech developments like this drag and drop platform for creating robot prototypes and a humanoid robot that helps struggling children develop self esteem. Now Kano aims to put good design at the heart of its product with three computer kits created in collaboration with design studio, Map.


The first kit allows users to build their own camera to shoot photos and video. The camera kit can be coded to create filters, animated GIFs and time lapse images. The second is an interactive light board which coders can program to display data, animations or games. This second kit can also be connected to a motion sensor, so that the display responds to movement. The third kit allows users to build their own speaker or synthesiser and create music. Each kit can be connected to the internet to allow aspiring developers to transfer content from one device to another.

The physical product aims to demystify coding. All kits are made from transparent plastic to enable customers a view of individual parts. Different colours have been used to differentiate each kit, the controls, and buttons inside them. The result is a product in which aesthetic and function run side by side. Creative director at Map, Jon Marshall said, “It’s about understanding the process of coding. It’ll enable people to take coding skills out into the real world”.

Kano and Map are looking to inspire the next generation of coders by reaching a USD 500,000 target on Kickstarter and are hoping the kits will start shipping in March 2017. Will more edtech companies begin to prioritize form alongside function?



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