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HURRI-KANO: Raspberry Pi kit for kids STORMS past funding target

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Yesterday morning we happened to mention that Kano, a UK-based company that wants to make a rather tasty Raspberry Pi-based DIY computer kit for kids, wanted $100,000 (£62,200) to make it so. At the time, it had garnered pledges totalling just over $34,000.

Kano computer kit

But within hours, Kano had not merely hit its funding target but exceeded it. In point of fact, it has funding pledges that double the amount of money it was after.

Impressive. Most impressive.

Kano co-founder Alex Klein admitted that the team behind the machine, also called Kano, are busily considering what they can do with the extra cash.

The boxed kit, which is due to ship in July 2014 – possibly sooner with all that bonus funding to drive it – contains a Pi, a case, a clip-on speaker, a power adaptor, a Wi-Fi dongle, cables, and a rather nice dual-mode keyboard with wired and wireless connectivity and a built-in touchpad.

Kano has borrowed Scratch’s visual approach to coding: assemble algorithms by dragging, dropping and clipping together blocks of logic: first to tweak a version of Pong and then to tinker with that current kids’ favourite, Minecraft.

Kano’s home-grown coding tool also allows users to enter lines of Python, which they do in the final, music-making exercise. Kano scores points for including a couple of printed books to guide kids step by step through all of these challenges. They’re cleanly designed and a million miles away from word-heavy tomes like the Dummies series and other Pi books.

The original concept came from a six-year-old: make it as “simple and as fun as Lego” while not making it overly “teacherly”. A whole stack of prototype kits were put to the test in a couple of London primary schools.

When Kano ships it will cost £69/$99. The funding call is still open: KickStarter will be taking names until 19 December. ®

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