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DIY Kits Let You Create Your Own Cameras And Speakers

DIY Kits Let You Create Your Own Cameras And Speakers
Children

Computer-building startup Kano has entered the IoT space with a new set of original products

Ido Lechner, Home Editor
  • 27 october 2016

You may remember Kano as a DIY computer kit company on a mission to teach children how to build their own machines, then use them to code amazing works of art, thrilling games and ingenious apps. Following the wild success of its original Kickstarter campaign and worldwide sales, the colorful startup is now looking to expand its repertoire with a new crowdfunding campaign involving a motion camera, speaker and light board. And just like its previous installation, the accompanying tools and software available are easy enough for children to navigate and learn through play, but doubly offer a wealth of possibilities to draw your creative brilliance out from under the covers.

The trio of gadgets are part of a new initiative to enter the Internet of Things space, and arrive in parts much like their predecessor to illustrate the building process. After assembly, users can then head over to Kano Code—the company’s drag-and-drop coding software—to bring their device to life. With a library of predefined actions that appear as jigsaw puzzles you can snap together to provide instructions for your respective item, the process for animating your new tools is similar to playing with digital Legos. Simply connect ‘When [App Starts]’ + ‘Microphone volume goes over [90]’ ‘then [take picture],’ and suddenly you have a camera that shoots whenever you clap your hands.

With the fundamental code built in JavaScript, users can peer into individual puzzle pieces to view and tweak the specific instructions, and by the time the finalized kits are ready to ship come December, it’ll be possible to design your own modules, thereby creating a personalized library of actions. Plus, unlike Kano OS, which was paired with the company’s computer kit to help kids translate what’s in their heads into reality, Kano Code is also available as a web app, meaning it’s accessible on virtually any device (note that you may experience difficulty if you attempt to use it on mobile).

As for kits themselves, you can always choose to work with them as standalone units by connecting to computers over Wi-Fi or USB. With interchangeable sensors, Kano has effectively created a rich and open ecosystem—one in which advanced users can easily utilize for non-Kano projects all the same should they just want the camera/speaker/pixelated LED display.

Perhaps the best upgrade to Kano’s offerings is the fact that tweaks made to Kano Code now occur in real time; any changes made become tangible at the press of a button. While some fans may be disheartened to hear that the modules are no longer powered by the Raspberry Pi, and instead use custom-built chipsets to keep production costs down, the design is still warm and inviting, with bold colors, simple manuals and intuitive controls. At its core, Kano remains the same—a startup looking to educate children about an increasingly prevalent theme in the world—technology—so that when they grow older, they won’t just be consumers, but creators.

“We spend so much our days immersed in these devices… These things dictate so much about my identity, my social group, my profession. Shouldn’t I have some control over the way it works?” Kano CEO Alex Klein told The Verge.

Kano

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