The latest blockbuster Kickstarter project is an unlikely one: an open source computer science education kit with Raspberry Pi. This one is targeted at kids, and it’s finding fans.
In working with kids, the company was able to refine the hardware from a large, brown kit to a smaller, clearer case system that was more portable and friendly. In addition, the company also worked on refining the software of Kano, which comes on a small SD card with every kit. The main piece to this is Kano Blocks — a coding environment that takes advantage of block programming to break big coding concepts down for the under-12 set.
Because of its testing experience, Klein said that he believes the team has a firm handle on the logistics that often trip up so many wildly successful Kickstarter hardware projects — manufacturing woes, contracting red tape, and other small things that add up to push a project from its intended date to much, much later. Raz-Fridman agreed in an email:
“From day one of starting Kano, we’ve developed a DNA of execution, detailed planning, and managing expectations, others’ and ours. It helped us design, make and ship 200 prototypes within 4 months from an apartment in London. We’ve learned to execute fast and deliver. We’ve worked hard on designing Kano’s supply chain, building relationships with the right partners, and most importantly, we are passionate about making people happy – and it starts with fulfilling their expectations.”
And the team hopes more money will pour in: Klein was able to confirm exclusively to Gigaom that the fundraiser will have new stretch goals:
- $1,000,000 will allow the company to bring Kano Blocks and the Pong Lesson to the web.
- $1,500,000 will bring Kano Blocks to iOS and Android
- $2,000,000 will help furnish an add-on robotics kit, to be available by Thanksgiving 2014.
Klein said that in his lofty dreams, the Kano will become a tool not only for educating the next generation of kids about how to create with computers, but something that could change communities around the world. He already has his eye on expansion kits that build on what Kano already does — including robotics and telecommunications — to bring even more tools to the table. That kind of open education, utilizing what Raspberry Pi was meant to do, is the way Klein believes we should solve our STEM problem.
“We do see this being apart of an ecosystem,” Klein said. “What’s very lucky about being an open source company is that we don’t have to build it all ourselves to give a sense of play and accessibility.”